Circle of Love-Medical tests for HIV+ Cameroonians

by Education Fights Aids (EFA) International
Circle of Love-Medical tests for HIV+ Cameroonians
Pehlem
Pehlem

It has now been about 2 and a half years since I have been in Cameroon.  I do my best to keep up-to-date with the members of our associations and all the great work that they are doing.  I am constantly reminded of why we do this work and why we support the associations.  For example, when we heard that one of our associaton members planned her pregnancy with her partner, sought medical care throughout, carefully adhered to her medication, and had a healthy, easy delivery and an HIV negative baby, I felt a mix of all positive emotions: happy, proud, relieved, and that the baby was evidence of our hard work.  

Now, I have even more reason to be proud of the work that we are doing.

Pehlem Therese, the coordinator of Education Fights AIDS Peer Education program, was chosen to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) with the Department of State. She was nominated by the United States Embassy in Cameroon for her tireless work to support the HIV+ young people in Cameroon.  

You can watch Pehlem here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHa_H-9a9Mo

While she tours the United States with the IVLP, I eagerly await her visit to my home.  I am eager for updates on each and every EFA member, on the work that we are doing together in Cameroon, and the success and reach that the Circle of Love has.  

I will be sure to update all of you here.  In the mean time, is there anything that you are curious about? What sort of update are you interested in?

Thank you for your continued support!  EFA wouldn't be where we are today without your generous contributions and support!

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Imagine living with a chronic disease.  Imagine that you need to take daily medications to keep your illness under control.  So far, not too difficult to imagine.  People around the world live with chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease and manage their diseases.  Now imagine that your doctor doesn’t have medication for your illness. In fact, it is not just your doctor who doesn’t have the treatment; it is your entire town.  Imagine that you need to take diagnostic tests every so often to track the progression of your disease.  Alas, those tests aren’t available in your town either. Or, maybe your health center doesn’t even have a doctor to begin with! 

Hard to imagine, isn’t it. 

Yet, this is the reality for the HIV+ young people in the Education Fights AIDS associations in Cameroon. 

Many of the villages where our associations are located do not have HIV treatment at the local health center.  For the associations with access to HIV care in their villages, frequent, long-lasting stockouts of medications and diagnostic tests still make adhering to their treatment a challenge. 

Our association members have the motivation and the desire to live healthy lives but a messed up medical system and ineffectual supply chain challenges that resolve at every turn.  We at EFA seek to empower the young people with whom we work. In this case, we need to capitalize on their resolve to live healthy lives and support their efforts to seek treatment and medical care.

The Circle of Love works. It works to bridge the divide between the tenacity of our HIV+ association members to adhere to their treatment and the reality of life in Cameroon. 

Take, for instance, our association member “Cecilia”.  Cecilia has been living with HIV for some time but suddenly found herself particularly ill and no longer able to attend school.  Her association helped her access the Circle of Love funds to go to a health clinic that has the CD4 test and ARVs available.  She has bounced back in the most incredible of ways.  She is attending school again.  She isn’t just surviving, she is thriving…because of the care of her association members and the support of the Circle of Love.

We thank you, “Cecilia” thanks you.  It is not always easy to see how we make a difference but the fact that “Cecilia” is back at school and flourishing is because of you and the Circle of Love.  

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Greetings dear supporters of Circle of Love, 

This September, Northern Cameroon was adversely affected by heavy flooding throughout the Logone and Shari division, including the communities where EFA supports HIV-affected families. The flooding and excess standing water has helped to breed many mosquito in an already malaria-endemic zone, and resulted in many cases of cholera.

For an HIV-positive person, it is extremely important to protect oneself from opportunistic infections, especially malaria and cholera. Through Circle of Love, EFA helps HIV-positive individuals to access malaria prevention and treatment, as well as clean drinking water to prevent cholera. 

We have added a new level of support to this project: $20 -- so that you can directly and immediately help EFA's network prevent opportunistic infections.

Many thanks for your generous support!

On est ensemble! (We are together!)

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160 CD4 tests.

160 trips to the medical clinic.

Because of the Circle of Love, the members of the youth empowerment network of Education Fights AIDS have, collectively, gotten 160 CD4 count tests since we began this effort!

The CD4 count test is used to evaluate the progression of HIV and its effects on the immune system.  In Cameroon, the CD4 count test is also used to determine eligibility for the antiviral programs.  

Of course, the test itself and transportation to the clinic can be prohibitively expensive.  The Circle of Love program helps to assure that our members are as healthy as they can be, no matter what their financial situation or level of hardship.  

We think it is fairly simple. The youth empowerment network works endlessly to support its members. They educate each other, they encourage each other, and they care for each other. But, without some financial help, their critical medical care would be out of reach.

The Circle of Love fills a need.  Our members are healthier because of it.

Thank you!  

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On March 8th, 2012, Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State for the United States, called on the world to create an "AIDS-Free generation" by using a host of interventions to prevent HIV transmission and infection.

In addition to more traditional approaches to HIV prevention, such as condom use, and antiviral drugs can prevent infected pregnant women and nursing mothers from spreading the virus to their children. Last year alone, more than 114,000 mother-to-child transmissions were prevented, Clinton said.

“Today, one in seven new infections occurs when a mother passes the virus to a child,” Clinton said. “We can get that number to zero.”

Education Fights AIDS is ready to do our part.  We educate our members, we provide them with condoms and teach them to use them.  The Circle of Love project, that provides transportation to medical centers and covers the costs of medical tests and treatments, plays a critical role in assuring that our HIV positive association members have access to medical care that will prevent the transmission of HIV to their children. 

Of course, HIV positive women have every right to have children and to fulfill every one of their dreams of becoming a mother.  In this day and age, with the best medical intervention, the chances of an HIV positive mom transmitting HIV to her baby are slim to none.  

That is the good news. 

Of course, the members of EFA's associations live in a part of the world where those medical interventions are not easy to access nor are they cheap.  The support EFA provides through the Circle of Love is literally life-saving.  It is also saving a generation. 

EFA seeks to support and empower our members. A sign of a job well done is that our members are living happy, successful, and, most importantly, healthy lives.  Pregnancy and the births of their children is a joyful sign that they believe in their own ability to remain healthy. 

Our support extends to the next generation--the AIDS free generation. 

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Organization Information

Education Fights Aids (EFA) International

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Education Fights Aids (EFA) International
Caitlyn Bradburn
Project Leader:
Caitlyn Bradburn
Washington, DC Cameroon

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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