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The Big Picture

Photo by
David Colwell

Of Hope and HIV, in Uganda

Divina Nakanyike has lost all five of her children to AIDS, leaving her to care for her nine orphaned grandchildren. She lives in the Rakai District of Uganda, where the Rakai Health Sciences Program is based. Since the program was launched in the late 1980s — by researchers including Maria Wawer, now a professor of Population and Health Sciences at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, and David Serwadda, MPH '91 — it's made key discoveries in HIV research. "Much of what we know about HIV transmission comes from work done in Rakai," says the Bloomberg School's Ron Gray, a Rakai principal investigator. Rakai's voluntary counseling and testing services have provided results to 80 percent of people in the study's communities, and the program has been distributing anti-retroviral drugs since 2004. (For more on the Rakai project and other Bloomberg School efforts in Africa, see the spring 2006 issue of Johns Hopkins Public Health Magazine, due out in late May.) For her part, the 60-year-old Nakanyike looks to the future. She says, "My hope is that my grandchildren get a sound education before I die."
— Brian W. Simpson

Return to April 2006 Table of Contents

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