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HEAL Africa provides holistic care for the people of Democratic Republic of Congo
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Hand in Hand - Gender Based Violence and HIV

Recognizing the correlation between gender-based violence and the transmission of HIV/AIDS among women and children, particularly those living in war zones where extreme violence and widespread rape are common, is a key component in developing successful and sustainable programs to effectively combat both overlapping crises. Lyn Lusi, one of the founders of HEAL Africa, will be speaking to these interrelated issues on the first day of meetings during the XVII International AIDS Conference on Sunday, August 3, 2008 in Mexico City.

HEAL Africa’s Lyn Lusi to Address XVII International AIDS Conference, August 3, 2008

HEAL Africa’s mission is to provide holistic treatment for victims of the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo by “training health professionals, strengthening social activists and providing physical, spiritual and social healing” (Mission Statement of HEAL Africa). It is multi-religious, multi-ethnic and grassroots: founded and run by locals. Though primarily focusing on victims of gender-based violence, HEAL Africa also partners with other AIDS prevention and intervention organizations, such as Choose Life and Global Strategies for HIV Prevention to address the particular challenges of those victims and their families consequently suffering from HIV/AIDS. As a result of identifying early on the connection between gender-based violence and the contraction and spread of HIV/AIDS:

  • HEAL Africa pioneered the first Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission program in Goma in 2003; six centers in Goma town and four other health districts are now implementing the program in their high-volume maternity services.
  • HEAL Africa is the only center in North Kivu province offering antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV infections in children (and one of the few offering PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) for survivors of rape.
  • HEAL Africa has pioneered a palliative home care program in Goma, bringing seven groups together to support more than 2,000 terminally ill patients in their homes.

Organizations like HEAL Africa serve as models and inspirations for the creation of long-term, locally rooted programs that successfully treat and advocate for victims of gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS and other complex social and health issues.