At Blood:Water we say that we take a "holistic" approach towards working with our friends living with HIV/AIDS in Africa...but what does holistic care really mean? What does holistic care look like?
The HIV/AIDS crisis is a VERY complex issue, and there is not one clear-cut answer in "treating" affected areas in Africa. Where one community needs a greater focus on education on the virus, another really may need greater access to treatments such as ARVs (Antiretroviral medication). In our time in Africa, we have noticed that since some organizations will go into a community and only provide education, and another will only provide treatment; there is a gap in providing communities with both - really attacking the issue from all angles.
This is where Blood:Water advances a truly holistic approach. We insure that communities have access to all possible resources to be able to tackle the AIDS issue as a whole. Blood:Water works with each community partner to develop capacity to implement quality programs that meet the needs of each individual community where they are working. The programs created for each community may include all or some of the following:
1) EDUCATION - Advocacy around HIV/AIDS awareness, transmission, prevention, and treatment options.
2) CARE & SUPPORT - Support to individual and families directly through Home Based Care or indirectly through wrap-around programs like agriculture and micro-finance that improve health and decrease vulnerability.
3) TESTING - Voluntary counseling and testing allows individuals to determine their status and take appropriate action through counseling and support.
4) HEALTH INTERVENTIONS - A range of health interventions that include preventative care, opportunistic infections treatment, provision of nutritional supplements, and increased access to water & sanitation.
5) TREATMENT - Comprehensive medical services such as antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, adherence (ensuring individuals remain on a regiment of medical care), CD4 and liver function testing, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission.
While all of these functions are individually very important, they are most effective when they are ALL carried out within a community.
Learn more about why Blood:Water is working against the HIV/AIDS crisis HERE.
Learn more about how we work HERE.
Have more questions? Check out the AIDS FAQs HERE.
Discuss November 20, 2011