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One of the most serious worldwide threats to public health and development is the spread of HIV/AIDS. The Peace Corps is a key partner and implementer of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which provides assistance to countries most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Many Volunteers will contribute to HIV/AIDS initiatives during their service, regardless of their area of expertise. Currently, the Peace Corps trains all Volunteers who serve in Africa, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia to be advocates and educators of HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Peace Corps Volunteers help people affected by HIV/AIDS through work in areas such as public health education, community and nongovernmental organizations, and business advising. Volunteers do not provide direct medical care.

HIV/AIDS Volunteers face special challenges. The Peace Corps supports its Volunteers with preparation and training to work in an environment of grief and loss.

If you can offer a more detailed description than this standard description the Peace Corps offers, please feel free to include that so others can get a better idea of what certain work areas consist of.


[edit] HIV/AIDS Opportunities

HIV/AIDS opportunities in each of the primary program areas.

[edit] Health

Peace Corps health Volunteers serve in a broad range of areas, including HIV/AIDS education and prevention. HIV/AIDS Volunteers assist communities that are currently being ravaged socially and economically by the AIDS pandemic. Volunteering in the area of HIV/AIDS offers an opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of others.

Activities include working in an orphanage with HIV-positive children; implementing programs for at-risk youth; collaborating with faith-based organizations on prevention messages; working at a community HIV center; creating a support group for HIV-positive people; teaching—formally and informally—about HIV/AIDS prevention and care; counseling and aiding local residents; and providing nutrition and hygiene education classes in communities.

[edit] Education, Youth Outreach, and Community Development

Education Volunteers have a tremendous impact on community development. Through the relationships they form with students, parents and other community members, Volunteers can plan a variety of outreach programs focusing on HIV/AIDS education. Volunteers can incorporate HIV/AIDS education into regular lesson plans, after-school programs, and school-wide assemblies and activities.

Youth outreach Volunteers bring much-needed HIV/AIDS education to young community members, helping to instill important prevention methods early on. Volunteers train youth as peer educators, coordinate with boys' and girls' camps, lead education and prevention programs targeted toward children, and organize support groups for children orphaned or suffering from HIV/AIDS.

Community development Volunteers are catalysts for change. They are continually engaged in defining their role in response to their host community, which many times includes the responsibility of HIV/AIDS educator. Community development Volunteers may plan and organize HIV/AIDS awareness programs or counsel community members with the disease. Some Volunteers may even be involved in constructing health centers in their communities.

[edit] Business Development and Information Technology

Business Volunteers focus on increasing family income and improving the environment for business, which are often hindered by the presence of HIV/AIDS. Some Volunteers work with development banks, nongovernmental organizations, and municipalities to support local development projects, such as AIDS clinics. Others may help women’s groups write funding proposals to implement programs that teach young mothers about the effect of AIDS on children.

Information technology Volunteers help communities and organizations bridge the gap between those with access to advanced technology and those without. Volunteers may work with health ministries to develop community forums concerning HIV/AIDS or they may be involved with programs focused on bringing the Internet into classrooms so students can get information about preventing and treating the disease.

[edit] Environment and Agriculture

Environment Volunteers confront the HIV/AIDS pandemic as a general developmental issue as well and a health issue. Volunteers may educate a community regarding HIV/AIDS treatment in order to prevent the over-harvesting of plants and wildlife believed to cure AIDS. Other Volunteers may work with local communities to develop natural resource-based businesses such as ecotourism and environmentally sound cultivation of medicinal plants, to support AIDS-affected communities.

Agriculture Volunteers use their skills to stabilize food security in communities often crippled by HIV/AIDS. Volunteers may work with communities to increase local food production. Some Volunteers may help mechanize farming systems in order to decrease dependence on a depleting work force. Volunteers may lead community and farmer specific programs to teach about issues ranging from organic pesticides, to nutrition and other health concerns including AIDS.

[edit] Health and HIV/AIDS Fund

Donations to the Health and HIV/AIDS Fund will help combat global health issues such as poor nutrition, the spread of infectious diseases, and the devastating social and economic impact of HIV/AIDS. In order to help alleviate these problems, Volunteers and their host communities are planning and implementing projects which focus on preventative health care, nutrition, and disease prevention and mitigation. The range of activities includes immunizations; nutrition and growth monitoring; promotion of breast-feeding; access to prenatal and postnatal care; training health workers; development of public awareness material; and culturally appropriate education strategies.

[edit] External Links

HIV/AIDS Official US Peace Corps Website

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