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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University February 2, 2004 | Vol. 33 No. 20
CCP to Partner with Haitian Groups on HIV/AIDS Prevention Project

By Kim Martin
School of Public Health

An innovative and effective HIV/AIDS prevention program that is helping Africa combat the virus's spread will now be used to help turn around Haiti's HIV/AIDS epidemic, thanks to a grant from the Pfizer Foundation.

Pfizer awarded a grant to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health / Center for Communication Programs to translate and make culturally appropriate the successful Journey of Hope kit, which is a practical and participatory life-skills tool that promotes culturally acceptable dialogue about HIV/AIDS and sexuality.

In addition to Haiti and Ghana, Journey of Hope, which was developed by a priest in Tanzania, is being considered for adaptation in Ethiopia and Uganda. The U.S. Agency for International Development supports the Journey of Hope project in Ghana.

Haiti has one of the worst HIV prevalence rates in Latin America and the Caribbean with nearly 5 percent of the general population infected. It is estimated that 85 percent of HIV-positive adults in the Caribbean live in either Haiti or the Dominican Republic. Haiti also faces high rates of unemployment, political instability and a lack of health care coverage.

The Journey of Hope kit uses the concept of a rising flood to illustrate the HIV/AIDS pandemic. By boarding a "prevention boat" — symbolizing either abstinence, faithfulness or condom use — individuals can survive the flood. The kit is used to mobilize a network of community- and faith-based organizations in highly participatory and entertaining ways.

Beginning this month, CCP plans to translate the Journey of Hope kit into Haitian Creole and make other changes as recommended by a broad group of government agencies and nongovernmental organizations. CCP will then select five Haitian organizations to receive training on using the kit. Those organizations will train about 200 community-based outreach workers, including religious and youth leaders involved in HIV/AIDS activities.


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