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Operation Abraham - Jerusalem AIDS Project.

WORLD AIDS DAY - 2008

Operation Abraham is a consortium of institutions committed to the training of local doctors in Africa in the surgical procedures of male circumcision as a method of HIV/AIDS prevention.

Operation Abraham Collaborative, in an effort to combat the continuing spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, has committed itself to:

  • Responding to the requests of African countries for assistance in the rolling out or scaling up of (adult and neonatal) male circumcision services for HIV prevention.
  • Training of local doctors to be self-sufficient in the surgical procedures of adult male (and neonatal) circumcision and providing hands-on assistance when requested.
  • Transferring technology, expertise, and experience from Israel to priority countries in Africa and the Caribbean.
  • Turning the science behind the national policies and guidelines of UNAIDS and the World Health Organization into practice.
  • Collaborating with professional and local communities to ensure a culturally sensitive and successful program is achieved.
  • Support safe and swift male circumcision for HIV prevention through adaptation and technology transfer of Operation Abraham Delivery Systems to countries in need.

Epidemiology

Most epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa appear to have stabilized, although often at very high levels, particularly in southern Africa. Additionally, in a growing number of countries, adult HIV prevalence appears to be falling.For the region as a whole, women are disproportionately affected in comparison to men, with especially stark differences between the sexes in HIV prevalence among young people.

In southern Africa, reductions in HIV prevalence are especially striking in Zimbabwe and Botswana, where falling HIV prevalence in pregnant women attending antenatal clinics suggests that the rate of new infections could be slowing. The epidemics in Malawi and Zambia also appear to have stabilized, amid some evidence of favorable behavior changes and signs of declining HIV prevalence among women using antenatal services in some urban areas.

HIV prevalence in the comparatively smaller epidemics in East Africa have either reached a plateau or are receding. Most of the comparatively smaller epidemics in West Africa are stable or are declining. The largest epidemic in West Africa- in Nigeria, the continent's most populous country- appears to have stabilized, according to HIV infection trends among women attending antenatal clinics.

Prevention and Care

Across the world, a small but growing number of countries have reduced HIV prevalence through sound prevention efforts. The high rates of HIV transmission result largely from failure to use the available and effective prevention strategies and tools, and poor coverage of HIV prevention programs. HIV prevention services were only 25% of the infected population in 2005, while coverage of key populations at high risk for HIV infection was considerably lower.

Effective HIV prevention programming focuses on the critical relationships between the epidemiology of HIV infection, the risk behaviors that expose one to HIV transmission, and also addresses the collective social and institutional factors, such as sexual norms, gender inequality, and HIV related stigma, that would otherwise continue to fuel the HIV epidemic.

AIDS-related care and support are key elements in the response to the epidemic: not only do they directly benefit people living with HIV/AIDS, but they also help to reduce the social and economic impact of the epidemic and to boost HIV prevention. People living with HIV/AIDS have a wide range of care and support needs. These include psychosocial support, as well as treatment for 'opportunistic infections' (the illnesses to which they become vulnerable as the immune system is destroyed by the virus). When their HIV infection reaches the stage that it becomes life threatening, they require treatment with anti-retroviral drugs. To improving treatment programs, African countries face the double challenge of getting new people to start treatment and maintaining the supply of treatment to those already receiving anti-retroviral drugs.

The following organizations make up the heart of the Operation Abraham Collaborative:

Jerusalem AIDS Project (JAIP): JAIP is an international NGO based in Jerusalem, Israel, with over 20 years of experience in developing and implementing capacity building interventions in HIV/AIDS in 27 countries around the world. JAIP is the coordinator and facilitator of the Collaborative.

Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO): HMO is a leading Israeli medical and health-care institution with international reputation and activities in training and supporting medical training and service delivery in Africa and many other developing countries. HMO holds the medical supervision role of the project.

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