Background: HIV Hope is the organization in Gabon we partner with that works to assist in the education, prevention, testing and reduction of the stigmatization and discrimination toward people with HIV/AIDS. HIV Hope conducts seminars and education programs, offers counseling, treatment guidance, compassion and hope to those who are living with this terrible disease.  HIV/AIDS is a major public health issue in Gabon, just like much of Sub-Saharan Africa. Stigma and discrimination toward people that are HIV positive in Gabon are two of the main obstacles to slowing its spread. Once a person in Gabon is known to be HIV positive they may stand to lose their job, reputation and even their families. Due to the ramifications of being HIV positive, those who know they are at risk of infection avoid testing due to fear of the stigmatization associated with HIV/AIDS. This aversion to testing leads to the continued spread of the disease by people who do not know they are infected and the preventable deaths of those who waited too long to get tested and seek treatment.

HIV Hope is led by Martin Mbavu – he is a church elder and has had a long career in public health. He has a masters degree in biology, a PHD in nutrition and public health and has worked for organizations such as the US Peace Corps, United Nations Development Program, UNICEF and The Global Fund. HIV Hope is working to spread the message that being HIV positive is not a death sentence and dispel many of the myths that drive stigma and discrimination.  The ultimate goal of HIV Hope is to build clinics where people can be treated in anonymity by a caring Christian staff in addition to its current education, prevention and testing programs.

Current: HIV Hope has identified a particularly vulnerable group of kids and young mothers that have been diagnosed with HIV, but are not currently receiving the appropriate treatment or nutrition to stay healthy and keep their HIV from developing into AIDS.  Funding from E4 Project will be used to provide 25 kids and mothers with 6 months of lab tests and high-nutrient food to supplement their diets currently consisting mainly of rice and cassava.

After receiving anti-retroviral drugs, proper nutrition and Biblical counseling from Martin and his team, hope can be restored to those living with HIV/AIDS, helping them realize that their diagnosis does not have to be a death sentence. Through the demonstration of improved health, like the woman in the video and counseling from HIV Hope, Martin has seen families restored. Documenting the health outcomes of these 25 individuals will also give HIV Hope momentum and credibility within Gabonese circles proving that taking action against this disease can make a difference. To read more about the children and mothers that HIV Hope is setting out to help check out this blog. For any questions about this cause send an email to dan@e4project.org.

Cost:

$1800 – 6 months of lab exams for 25 at-risk individuals

$1200 – 6 months of high nutrient food to supplement the diets for 25 at-risk individuals

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