Through educational programs, conferences, press and other media campaigns, GAIA VF educates the public and, in particular, healthcare providers, about HIV/AIDS and the need for a global HIV vaccine. GAIA VF focuses on creating ethical awareness for the necessity of improving the health of everyone in the community and educating people about the roles the community and individuals can play in vaccine trials.
Our award winning peer education program, is based on a five-finger physical mnemonic for HIV prevention education. Our strategy for this intervention was separated into two phases: (i) regional assessment and (ii) introduction of education and testing methods, During the first phase, we observed the baseline HIV case rates, developed a map of the community, installed a medical record system at the CSCOM, updated the HIV training of the CSCOM medical staff, and trained the outreach workers. Door-to-door HIV peer education was initiated in the second phase of the program.
Here Bolo or Hand of Hope is a peer-education program that teaches about HIV using a
simple physical mnemonic – the five fingers of the hand. The teaching tool uses the five fingers to teach five key messages about HIV:
- Hope for life (treatment is available – Thumbs up)
- Identity (testing, knowing partner’s status –Index)
- Transmission (how HIV is, and is not transmitted- Middle finger)
- Fidelity and Family (Ring finger- also Mother to child transmission)
- Community based activism and support (fifth finger completing the whole hand).
TB Bolo utilizes the Here Bolo peer educators to reach out to the community and educate people living in Sikoro about TB. Peer educators were trained to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of TB and are now referring possible TB cases to the Hope Center clinic for a free x-ray and treatment if needed. The project supplements care normally provided by the national TB infrastructure. GAIA VF supports half the cost of the clinic visit, while the CSCOM pays for the other half of the cost. This approach lowers the barrier to treatment and has resulted in the detection of a number of TB cases that might otherwise have continued to spread TB in the surrounding community.
Les Journées VIH de Bamako
GAIA VF sponsors an annual conference for HIV/AIDS specialists, which is held every January in Bamako, Mali. January 2012 marked the 9th Annual GAIA VF-sponsored conference for HIV/AIDS specialists working in Mali and West Africa.
Lastly, GAIA VF sponsors our Malian collaborators to visit the United States to attend important HIV/AIDS conferences.