Group Combats HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia With Community Conversations
July 26, 2013
Holding peer-led discussion groups in communities has contributed to a significant drop of HIV/AIDS transmission in Ethiopia. KMG-Ethiopia, a community-based advocacy organization, initiated community conversations to halt cultural practices that often lead to HIV/AIDS and other sexual health issues. According to KMG, practices such as female genital mutilation and forced marriage fuel HIV/AIDS.
Ethiopia's HIV transmission rates have dropped by 90 percent between 2001 and 2011, the largest drop in all African countries. Additionally, the country has seen a 53-percent drop in AIDS-related deaths, from 113,825 to 53, 831 people from 2005 to 2011. Due to KMG's success, the government has recently added community conversations into its HIV/AIDS prevention strategy.
Persuading communities to let go of their traditions can be difficult, but after a trip to observe the Ethiopian community conversations, Michel Sidibé, executive director of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, noted that during the discussion groups, people would change their opinions about taboos and misunderstandings surrounding sex, HIV, and age-old practices like arranged marriages.
Dr. Moustapha Gueye, who first developed the method, took the idea to the United Nations Development Program, which then reached out to KMG to run a trial program in Ethiopia. KMG Founder Bogaletch Gebre won the first African Development Prize, sponsored by the Belgium-based King Baudouin Foundation, for her work on this project.
07.23.2013; LaToya Bowlah
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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