Peace Corps Turns Hope Into Action On World AIDS Day
HIV/AIDS is an important focus of Peace Corps' programming and training, and HIV/AIDS initiatives are integrated across all of the agency's program sectors. In 2006, Volunteers carried out activities that provided assistance worldwide to over 1 million individuals in HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and worked with over 84,000 service providers, and over 3,800 organizations.
"The Peace Corps is committed to combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic and our dedicated and caring Volunteers are doing an impressive job of incorporating HIV/AIDS education into their work in local communities," said Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter.
Regardless of their assignments, Volunteers include HIV/AIDS messages into their projects. Here are a few examples of how Peace Corps Volunteers have made a difference in countries across the globe:
- In the Dominican Republic, Volunteers across all sectors received training in the locally produced "I Choose Life" life skills and HIV/AIDS prevention strategy and trained peer educators to promote healthy decisions among youth.
- In Macedonia, Volunteers conducted sessions on HIV/AIDS prevention during girls' and boys' leadership camps.
- In Morocco, Volunteers educated rural health workers, youth, and women in HIV/AIDS prevention methods and promoted appropriate disposal of hazardous medical waste in health centers.
- In Mauritania, Volunteers worked with businesses and groups of people living with HIV/AIDS to develop and market Cereamine, a locally-produced, high-energy flour made from corn, beans, rice, millet, and peanuts.
- In Botswana, Volunteers are working with voluntary testing and counseling centers to help implement the Zebras for Life Test for Life campaign, which promotes behavior change among football fans, and encourages young people to get tested. Those who complete the full counseling and testing process receive a blue bracelet with the campaign's message inscribed. Several players from the Zebra national football team serve as role models and spokespeople for the campaign.
Peace Corps is a key partner of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a five-year, $15 billion, multifaceted approach to providing assistance to countries most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Through PEPFAR, the United States now leads the world in its level of support for the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Peace Corps is part of this global effort and works with host country partners to provide a range of innovative programs that help those most in need.
The Peace Corps is celebrating a 46-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.
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