Project Hope: AIDS Education in Action

October 9th, 2006 by bobebill

The Tertiary Sisters of Cameroon are working hard to address the AIDS epidemic in their country where it is spreading rapidly. Sister Xaveria says prior to education and the availability of medicines to treat the disease, patients lost hope and were giving up. “Many were dying because of despair and the stigma.” She says the sisters developed “Project Hope” a mother and child prevention program to address the problem. As a part of the effort, pregnant women were counseled, and were administered drugs during delivery as a precaution. Counseling was also put into place for mothers who are breastfeeding.“There is a great change—the stigma is going down. Now, 100% of the mothers accept counseling,” says Sister Xaveria, who also says that young people are talking about the risk of AIDS.

She expresses appreciation for the volunteers who have donated their time to providing counseling, and she says the sisters are working to give the volunteers a stipend from time to time, to keep energy behind the project. She says the effort remains important, even as research advances. “Treatment is not the main thing. The main thing is prevention, and to let them know they can live with it.”
Fiona Smith, MPH