Saint Marc, Haiti, July 29th 2017 - For the second straight year, Konbit Mizik was proud to organize a community-wide HIV testing and education initiative combined with a free concert and public health PR campaign. This year, we focused our efforts on the city of Saint Marc, about 2 hours north of Port-au-Prince, due to its reputation for having a very high HIV prevalence, as identified by the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
We are so thankful to our clinical partner organizations Fondation Esther Boucicault Stanislas (FEBS) and Zanmi Lasante (Partners in Health) and the dozens of volunteers from both Haiti and the US who helped make this event a success. Together we rapid tested a total of 229 people, identifying 5 people living with HIV (2.2%) and linking them directly and immediately to free follow up care at local hospitals.
A huge thank you to Orasure Technologies for donating the rapid testing kits again this year. Additionally, we thank and salute Global Protection Corp. and their incredible repeat donation of 5,000 ONE Condoms to the project. The people of Saint Marc truly loved them, and as one can see below in the survey data, very much needed them - 59% of the people we surveyed did not use a condom the last time they had sex.
Our TV & radio spot (see below) was a big hit also and played on all the local stations in the weeks prior to the event. Rap megastar Izolan, Pwojè SIDA's artist ambassador, made sure hundreds of thousands of people saw or heard it, and began to change their understanding and attitudes toward HIV testing.
In conclusion, this year's Pwojè SIDA was a great stepping stone in realizing the vision of eradicating AIDS in Haiti and beyond. Together, we are normalizing knowing one's HIV status, promoting condom use, and are combatting the fear, stigma, and myths associated with HIV/AIDS. It truly is a joy and a privilege to work with Haiti's young leaders as we save lives and empower communities.