Haiti (MNN) — After Haiti's devastating earthquake nearly a year ago, volunteers
and medical professionals scrambled to care for overwhelming medical
needs. In the chaos, those helping the
sick and injured may have unwittingly contributed to the spread of HIV/AIDS, says
Dr. Marlene Dorismond, health programs manager for Food for the Hungry.
Prior to the earthquake, Haiti had about 200,000 known infections of
HIV. Dorismond believes it likely that
even more people are infected today.
Following the earthquake, medical workers had huge numbers of medical
emergencies to deal with and very limited resources for providing people
proper care in the midst of the earthquake's devastation. Sometimes, health precautions took a backseat
to simply providing the care that people needed. Careful handling of blood did not always
happen, and sanitary gloves were scarce. The AIDS virus is likely to have spread further as a result.
Now, FH and other non-governmental organizations are stretched even
further to provide the same programs they did before, with even less
infrastructure. FH began long-term development work in Haiti in
2008. It works with its Child
Development office in the Dominican Republic, which is 5 minutes from the
border of Haiti. The ministry also works with over 150 Haitian churches to help them meet the
physical and spiritual needs of their communities.
FH provides abstinence and faithfulness training to prevent
transmission of HIV, especially among the youth. It also cares for people infected with or
affected by HIV/AIDS by providing home-based care, nutrition and hygiene education,
counseling services, and the application of immunizations and antibiotics. In addition, FH looks has special training,
support, and emergency relief services for orphans and vulnerable children
affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis. Click here to find out how
you can help.