Congratulations to London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine alumnus Tessa Jean-Pierre for her role in organising Haiti’s first AIDS walk held earlier this month in Port au Prince for World AIDS Day.
Coordinated by Caris Foundation International, the walk was led and organised by Program Manager OVC Tessa Jean-Pierre, MSc Public Health in Developing Countries 2013, and colleague Sylvie Boisson MD, Director of Child and Adolescent Services, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and Haitian Red Cross.
The aim of the walk is to increase awareness, eliminate discrimination and to show support for people living with HIV. The walk was a huge success attracting over 300 participants who promoted awareness of AIDS through engaging with the public, chanting, distributing condoms, and waving banners and posters. It concluded with the release of 500 red balloons, a symbol of hope for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Caris Foundation International has been working in Haiti since 2008 to improve the care of HIV positive children, young people and pregnant women. In partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Health (MSPP ) and USAID/PEPAR, Caris coordinates the Early Infant Diagnosis of HIV program in over 120 hospitals and clinics nationally. The program seeks to ensure that every child born to an HIV-positive mother is tested early. Where infants are diagnosed positive, we help initiate lifesaving Anti Retroviral (ARV) medication as soon as possible. Approximately 15,000 tests have been done since 2010, and 80% of the HIV-positive infants that have started ARV treatment are still alive.