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Source: University of Manitoba


November 6, 2006

Programs will focus on HIV/AIDS prevention, care, support and treatment for vulnerable population.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded the University of Manitoba US $22 million to develop a comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention and support program in southern India.

The five-year project is focused on enhancing HIV and AIDS prevention, care, support and treatment services for vulnerable and affected populations in 12 high-prevalence districts in the state of Karnataka, and in four coastal districts in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh.

"This initiative, supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, will build local capacity to deliver care and support services and extend prevention activities to rural areas, thus providing a comprehensive prevention to care program," says Beth Hogan, deputy mission director of USAID in India.

The University of Manitoba team is led by Dr. Stephen Moses, professor of medical microbiology, community health sciences and internal medicine, and Dr. James Blanchard, associate professor of community health sciences and medical microbiology, and Canada Research Chair in epidemiology and global public health. Both have extensive field experience in implementing HIV/AIDS programs in India and Africa.

The new project will build on the University of Manitoba’s international reputation as a leader in designing innovative programs to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS in developing countries.

"Our overall goal is to build a comprehensive program that will provide effective HIV and AIDS prevention, care, support and treatment services for the people who need them most," says Moses. "We’ll be working from the ground up, not only to reduce the spread of the infection, but also to empower people to improve their own health and the health of their communities through enhanced HIV/AIDS care and treatment."

The University of Manitoba is responsible for the overall technical design, management and administration of the project, which brings together a variety of organizations to work closely with the Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society, the state government, district administrations and community groups. These include EngenderHealth, an international nonprofit organization that will provide support in the area of HIV care, and treatment, and Population Services International, a nonprofit organization with expertise in developing effective health communications strategies.

The partnership also includes a number of Karnataka-based non-governmental and academic organizations with a strong history of working together to deliver high quality HIV and AIDS programs throughout the state, including the Karnataka Health Promotion Trust, St. John’s Medical College and Swasti, all of which have worked closely with the University of Manitoba over the past several years. Ms Vandana Gurnani will lead project implementation as Chief of Party for the project. Gurnani is a senior Government of India officer who has been on deputation to the University of Manitoba, and was formerly Director of the Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society.

Working closely with local government and supporting State and National priorities, the project will focus on four key components:

· HIV prevention among high-risk groups in rural areas of Karnataka, including peer outreach, education and prevention.

· HIV prevention for vulnerable populations in rural areas of Karnataka, including HIV education programs for the general population, programs to reduce high-risk behaviour among youth, and increased access to HIV counseling and testing services.

· Community-based care, support and treatment in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, including increased access to and use of HIV-related outpatient clinical care, and increased coverage of programs that support orphaned and vulnerable children.

· Capacity building and systems strengthening in Karnataka, including improving the capacity to provide quality HIV clinical care, improving the capacity for HIV counseling, and strengthening the capacity of social organizations to deliver HIV prevention, care and support programs.

"We are very pleased to be able to partner with USAID to build on our efforts to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in India and to mitigate its impact," says Dr. Emoke Szathmáry, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba. "As our long-term involvement in programs for the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS demonstrates, the University of Manitoba is committed to using the knowledge of its infectious disease specialists and social scientists to improve the lives of people around the world."

Established in 1961, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency that provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., USAID provides assistance in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Near East, Latin America, Europe and Eurasia. For information about the many USAID projects worldwide, please visit:

For more information, contact: Chris Rutkowski Media Relations Coordinator Public Affairs Phone: (204) 474-9514 Fax: (204) 474-7631



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