Zambia Peace Corps Volunteers Focus on HIV/AIDS Prevention in Africa; Five Volunteers Selected to Attend Annual Conference This Week
September 13, 1999Washington, D.C., September 13, 1999—Five Peace Corps volunteers are attending an international conference in Lusaka, Zambia this week to seek ways to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. The five volunteers and two Peace Corps staff members are participating in the one-week annual conference which runs from September 12-16. All five volunteers are community health workers in various provinces throughout Zambia, working with villagers to prevent the spread of AIDS. The five are: Jody Bauer, 25, of Doylestown, Penn.; Alysha Beyer, 26, of Dayton, Ohio; Kevin Howley, 27, of Alexandria, Va.; Katherine Pasternack, 26, of Seattle, Wash.; and Charleen Smith, 25, of Las Vegas, Nev.
They will network with local non-governmental organizations and community leaders to find ways to continue educating Zambians about AIDS, and will talk about their experiences as AIDS educators.
More than 3,500 delegates, researchers, social workers, and AIDS sufferers from 25 countries around the world are expected to participate in the conference. Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe is scheduled to speak about his nation's fight against the disease, which has devastated whole villages in Africa. An estimated 5,500 people die of AIDS in Africa every day; the AIDS virus in Africa accounts for two-thirds of the world's infections. In 15 years, AIDS has killed 11 million Africans, which is more than 80 percent of the world AIDS deaths. The epidemic infects five Africans every two minutes. The theme of this year's conference is "Looking into the Future: Setting Priorities for HIV/AIDS/STD in Africa." Speakers and panelists will focus on finding solutions to preventing further spread of the disease on the African continent. They will also work to strengthen government responses to the impact of AIDS on economic conditions in African nations.
There are more than 110 Peace Corps volunteers currently serving in Zambia. More than 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 77 countries around the world to bring clean water to communities, teach children, protect the environment, help start new small businesses, and prevent the spread of AIDS.