HIV/AIDS Resource Center Opens In The Capital

HIV/AIDS Resource Center Opens In The Capital

Addis Ababa, December 10, 2002 (WIC)- A new resource center providing up-to-date and accurate information on HIV/AIDS opened today in Addis Ababa.

The AIDS Resource Center is the result of a partnership of Ethiopia's HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (CCP), Analytical Sciences, Inc. and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The center will serve as Ethiopia's main source of information on the epidemic that is sweeping through the nation of 67 million. 7.3 per cent of Ethiopian adults are now infected with HIV.

Dr. Tadesse Wuhib, CDC Director in Ethiopia said, "Having access to accurate and current information is key to halting the spread of this virus," "young people and adults need to be educated and informed about HIV/AIDS so they can protect themselves and care for those who are infected or affected."

Designed to serve as a springboard for the efforts of other HIV/AIdS organizations in Ethiopia, the AIDS Resource Center is a hub for a host of resources and services.  These include a comprehensive multimedia reference collection, high-speed computer terminals with internet access, audiovisual equipment, and databases of local and international HIV/AIDS organizations and funding opportunities.  With local HIV/AIDS stakeholders, the center plans to develop behavior change communication materials on prevention, voluntary counseling and testing, and living positively with HIV/AIDS.

The center will also reach out to Ethiopian journalists to ensure that news coverage of the epidemic is sensitive and based on factual information to help dispel myths and reduce stigma.

"Our knowledge about HIV/AIDS changes daily," said Ato Negatu Mereke, Head of Ethiopia's HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office.  "Providing access to the latest information will guide our efforts to prevent the spread and mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS."

The new resource center is free to users affiliated with any government agency, media organization or non-governmental organization working in HIV/AIDS issues.

Once the AIDS Resource Center is fully operational, center partners are considering expanding to other regional sites that will be networked through the main resource center in Addis Ababa.  There are also plans for an expanded audiovisual unit, additional databases, and a national HIV/AIDS telephone hotline.

USD 1.5 Million in funding for the new center has been made available through a five-year cooperative agreement between CCP and the CDC, which is responsible for HIV/AIDS prevention in the United States and assists other countries in developing, implementing and evaluating HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment programs.  There is also an additional fund of USD 150 thousand in year on for development of voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) materials, and USD 245 thousand for years on and two for IT and database development.  CDC also might provide additional funding for ARC-related activities in the coming years. 

CDC directs the National Prevention Information Network (NPIN), a national clearinghouse for HIV/AIDS information in the Unites States. CCP is a pioneer in the field of strategic, research-based communication for behavior change and health promotion.