World AIDS Day:
01 December is observed across the world as World AIDS Day and this is the time when the world comes together to express solidarity in fighting one of the most dreaded epidemics of our time. With over 34 million people living with HIV across the world and a death toll of almost 1.8 million people in 2010, the pandemic of HIV is far from being over. On the occasion of this World AIDS Day 2012, there is a critical need to reaffirm our pledge to arrest this epidemic and ‘Getting to Zero’ which is the theme for the this year’s World AIDS Day. “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS related deaths”, is a theme which clearly signifies the commitment of Governments from across the world, health care organizations, health care providers and individuals to pledge their support towards this cause. Getting to Zero is a comprehensive theme which signifies the multipronged approach required to curtail the epidemic. “Zero new HIV infections” focuses on prevention through awareness generation and empowering communities to protect themselves against this infection. “Zero discrimination” addresses the stigma associated with HIV and the many challenges in integrating HIV/AIDS related services as part of the primary health care services in rural and remote areas. “Zero AIDS related deaths” encourages availability and accessibility of treatment to all the people infected and focuses on removing inequalities in access to high quality treatment, care and support facilities.
Lack of awareness amongst the poor and marginalized people and the high stigma associated with HIV has rendered many people vulnerable to HIV and AIDS. There are approximately 16.8 million women and 3.4 million children living with HIV/AIDS the world over. According to the 2008-09 statistics revealed by NACO, there are around 2.4 million people currently living with HIV in India. In response to the epidemic the Government of India launched its National AIDS Control Program (NACP-I) in 1992 which has come a long way in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. NACP-III calls for greater participation from the civil society and the private sector in expressing solidarity in preventing the further spread of HIV and providing care support and treatment to the people living with HIV.
On the occasion of the World AIDS Day 2012, The Catholic Health Association of India, would like to join hands with the Government and other civil society organizations in commemorating this day and reaching out to the youth of this country to lend their support in realising the theme of “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS related deaths”.
Organizational profile:
The Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) is a membership based organization with over 3,347 member institutions which are predominantly engaged in providing comprehensive health care services to the poor and marginalized across the country for almost 70 years now. Its membership consists of big, medium, small hospitals and health centers and is decentralized into 11 Regional Units covering all states in India. Although CHAIs network operates throughout India, its prime focus is to provide preventive, promotive, curative and community based health care services to the rural, remote and tribal areas of the country primarily inhabited by the poor and marginalized section of the population. CHAI’s prime interventions have been in the field of Communicable Diseases (with a special focus on HIV/AIDS and TB), Community Health and Disaster Management. Drawing upon its strength of coverage and its presence in rural and remote locations and also conscious of the gaping void in the service delivery of public health services to the rural population in India, CHAI is implementing a gamut of interventions with a community centric service delivery approach. CHAI has also been recognized for its effective training and capacity building strengths for various health care interventions and also has played a major role in creating awareness and sensitization amongst the communities and community based organizations. CHAI has demonstrated effective partnerships with its Governmental and Non-Governmental counterparts and has been funded by various international health and development agencies from across the globe some of which include CDC-GAP, UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GFATM round 4, 7 and 9, CBCI, Caritas and CMMB.
HIV/AIDS specific interventions of CHAI:
Primary Health Centre (PHC) Enhancement Program: This program was implemented by CHAI in partnership with APSACS, CDC and Lepra Society. Over 700,000 people were reached with HIV/AIDS counselling and testing services and almost 2.2 million people were reached with HIV prevention messages. It has also provided a complete cascade of prevention of parent-to-Child-transmission of HIV (PPTCT) services to 3600 HIV- Positive pregnant women.
HIV/AIDS Care and Support Services:  150 Member Institutions of CHAI provide care; support and treatment services to over 5000 patients infected and affected by HIV/AIDS across the country. Over 40 CHAI Member Institutions focus exclusively on addressing the needs of over 2000 children with vulnerability resulting specifically from HIV/AIDS.
Provision of Community Health Services and Interventions on Communicable Diseases: ‘Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission’ (PPTCT) Services have been set up in 45 Faith Based Hospitals across the country in partnership with the respective State AIDS Control Societies (SACS). CHAI is also providing Technical Assistance to over 75 CHAI member Institutions engaged in providing care and support for HIV infected people especially Orphan and Vulnerable Children.
CHAI Action Plan on HIV/AIDS: This intervention focused on Capacity-Building of Member Institutions with an emphasis on counseling and home-based care through intensive classroom and hands-on training School AIDS Education Program: The program was implemented in over 1,000 private high schools spanning 11 districts of Andhra Pradesh, in collaboration with APSACS. The program used the best methodologies with clear, authentic information related to sex and sexuality, HIV/AIDS, and peer pressure to reach the adolescent population.
Indian Nurse Specialized in HIV/AIDS and ART ((INSHAA): This initiative focused on capacity- strengthening of nurses working with ART centers in five States-CHAI was the implementing agency working in collaboration with the Centre for Disease Control.
Strengthening Nursing Expertise in HIV/AIDS: This initiative aims at increasing nursing capabilities in providing HIV clinical care services in India as part of sector-wide efforts to strengthen human resources for health (HRH) systems.
Commemoration of World AIDS day by the Catholic Health Association of India:

In order to commemorate World AIDS Day, CHAI reaffirms its pledge to fight HIV/AIDS and channelize its endeavours in order to realise the theme of “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS related deaths”. In line with this theme CHAI proposes to conduct a National level awareness program by involving the 11 regional units from across the country and conducting the following activities on World AIDS Day:
National Level Consultation Workshop:
CHAI proposes to conduct a national level workshop in Hyderabad at the Central office involving the faith based and civil society organizations, Government, non government agencies and representatives of various health and development agencies to share their experiences and reaffirm their commitment towards addressing this deadly epidemic.
This workshop will aim to promote the importance of sensitizing and empowering the youth and adolescents to make the right choices to protect themselves against this deadly disease.
Innovative ways to reach out to the youth and adolescents will be discussed and a road map will be created to help the faith based organizations to reach out to this vulnerable population in their catchment areas.
Discussions will also centre around some of the government interventions to this effect and how the faith based organizations can support the government initiatives.
Output: representatives of various faith based organizations, representatives of the Government, NGO’s and other health and development agencies will gather and share their ideas and learning’s in empowering the youth and adolescents.
Sensitizing adolescents and youth on HIV/AIDS and prevention:
Efforts will be made to reach out to the children in schools and colleges and sensitize them on HIV/AIDS and empower them to make the right choices in protecting themselves against this deadly disease.
This will be done across the country from the 11 regional units of CHAI wherein health care providers will visit a selected number of schools and colleges to sensitize the youth and involve them in the fight against HIV
It is proposed that 10 health care providers from each of the 11 regional units of CHAI from across the country will conduct this sensitization programs in the schools/ colleges. Each of the health care providers will sensitize adolescents/ youth from 2 schools located within their catchment area.
At the CHAI central office level, 20 schools/colleges will be targeted.
Poster and competitions will be conducted across the country on the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day, “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS related deaths”. Prizes will be given out to the best posters in every region.
Output: A total of 240 schools from across the country will be reached. Approximately 48000 students will be sensitized.
World AIDS Day Rally:
In order to commemorate world AIDS day, to reaffirm our commitment to fight HIV and to provide care support and treatment to those infected with the virus, CHAI would like to conduct a world AIDS day walk involving the adolescents and youth.
Each of the 11 regional units of CHAI from across the country will conduct a similar walk/ rally and one will also be conducted from the CHAI central office.
Information, Education and Communication Activities:
The Catholic Health Association proposes to utilize mass media communication platforms like the local television channel exclusively on Health, and broadcast messages on HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness.
CHAI will also utilize the Health Action magazine which has a readership of over 100,000 people from across the country, to publish information on HIV/AIDS prevention.
Pamphlets will also be distributed with HIV/AIDS related prevention and awareness. This will be distributed to the general public during the rally.
In line with the theme of “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS related deaths”, CHAI will reaffirm its commitment by conducting all the above activities to commemorate world AIDS Day. In order to do this CHAI requests for financial support from its partners and invites a collaborative effort in making this World AIDS Day 2012 a meaningful one and in sensitizing the impressionable adolescents and youth of today to make the right choices in protecting themselves and expressing solidarity in the fight against this deadly epidemic.

World AIDS Day 2012

World AIDS Day is celebrated universally on 1st December, “Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths”, is the theme for the years 2011 to 2015.

Giving the theme a tangible form, the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) celebrated the day with the people of Mudfort slum and Sikh Village Slum a highly populated area in Secunderabad with more than 800 families.

A free medical health camp and HIV counseling test through mobile Integrated Counselling and Test Centre (ICTC) was conducted.  A panel of doctors from CHAI central office and special doctors from Limcy Clinic, Khammam helped in conducting the free medical health check-up.  More than 415 people got their general health checkup done and free medicines were distributed. More than 53 people got their HIV test done.

Students from St. Francis Junior College and Roda Mistry College of Social Work and Research Centre performed a street play to create awareness on HIV/AIDS.  More than 40 students from both colleges were present at the venues. Swathi C from St Francis College for Women said, “We wanted to spread awareness about HIV AIDS, more than the disease we want to create awareness about the stigma attached to this disease, hence, we chose this as a subject and are using street play as a medium to reach out to the public.”

“World AIDS Day is not just a celebration but an extension of our commitment towards the patients and the society at large. It is fantastic to see that the younger generation getting involved in social work and public health. In slum areas there is awareness but also helplessness, hence we are here to help them,” said Rev Dr Tomi Thomas, IMS, Director-General, CHAI.


Maria Inez Linhares de Carvalho e suas pequisas sobre a Aids

Convidada para um trabalho voluntário do Banco da Providência, na zona de prostituição do Rio, em 1983, a ginecologista Maria Inez Linhares de Carvalho (foto), mal sabia que seria uma das primeiras a lidar no país com a doença mais temida do novo milênio: a AIDS. A descoberta do vírus HIV num travesti foi o primeiro passo para que ela iniciasse uma série de pesquisas sobre a doença. Hoje, ela tem mais de 60 trabalhos publicados na área, que já lhe renderam dois prêmios: o Leopold Kunschak, concedido pelo governo da Áustria a trabalhos de pesquisa em prol do bem-estar da humanidade, e o de melhor obra social do Rio Janeiro, pela Associação Cultural da Arquidiocese. Sua preocupação com a população excluída, portadora do vírus, levou à criação do Ambulatório da Providência e da Casa de Apoio Santo Antônio, dos quais é a presidente. Ela também preside a Associação dos Médicos Católicos da Arquidiocese do Rio de Janeiro e é a consultora em AIDS, representando o Brasil no Vaticano. Entrevistada pelo Amai-vos, a Dra. Maria Inez Linhares de Carvalho destacou a importância da fé nos tratamentos.

Amai-vos: Como surgiu a idéia de criar o Ambulatório da Providência?

Dra. Maria Inez: Na época a discriminação em relação a AIDS era muito grande, além do que não havia nenhuma forma de tratamento. Eu vi uma pessoa morrer na rua, feito um animal. Aquilo me impressionou muito. Diante desse fato, fui a Arquidiocese procurar o Cardeal Dom Eugenio Sales e lhe apresentei o problema. Ele ficou muito sensibilizado e passou a me apoiar nesse trabalho. Falei sobre necessidade da criação de um ambulatório específico para essa população a fim de evitar que o número de mortes aumentasse nas ruas, já que ninguém se propunha a ajudar. No dia 1º de dezembro – Dia Mundial de Luta Contra a AIDS – de 1989, conseguimos abrir o ambulatório, em São Cristóvão, voltado para a população excluída (mendigos, prostitutas, travestis, meninos de rua, toxicômanos, egressos), principalmente os infectados com o vírus da AIDS.

Amai-vos: O ambulatório só presta atendimento para os portadores do vírus HIV?

Dra. Maria Inez: Não. A casa é voltada para o tratamento da AIDS, mas não quer dizer que só atendemos a esse caso. Damos também atendimento a toda a população carente. O fato é que essa população já é discriminada sem contrair a AIDS, tendo-a então….Por isso, trabalhamos por essas pessoas. Ao longo desses onze anos temos mais de 15.000 pacientes cadastrados, dos quais cerca de 2.500 fizeram o teste de HIV, e desses, 40% tiveram resultado positivo. Ou seja, da população que foi testada no ambulatório, quase 50% é soro positivo para o vírus. Não significa que 40% da população de rua do Rio de Janeiro seja infectada, e sim da que foi testada aqui. No momento estamos com cerca de 600 pacientes que têm assistência integral, recebendo toda a medicação necessária.

Amai-vos: Quais tipos de atendimentos são realizados pelo ambulatório?

Dra. Maria Inez: Além da assistência médica e odontológica gratuita, realizamos um grande trabalho de prevenção das doenças sexualmente transmissíveis (DST), por meio de palestras, com ênfase na AIDS. Há ainda um trabalho de orientação no que se refere à higiene básica. Fora isso, prestamos atendimento psicológico, social, religioso e espiritual para essa população, sempre observando como a Igreja vê o paciente na sua dimensão física, mental e espiritual. Para esse trabalho, contamos com uma equipe de 23 profissionais, envolvendo médicos, dentistas, enfermeiros, assistentes sociais, psicólogos e uma advogada voluntária.

Amai-vos: Como a religião está inserida neste contexto?

Dra. Maria Inez: Há um trabalho muito interessante, voltado para que essas pessoas queiram viver. Noventa por cento da população de rua que atendemos é viciada no álcool ou em algum tipo de droga, quando não é também portadora do vírus. Quem tem casos de álcool ou droga na família, sabe da dificuldade que é para fazer com que essa pessoa largue o vício. O problema é que a maioria dos doentes que atendemos vem das ruas, não tem ninguém. O nosso grande desafio é fazer com que eles larguem a droga e o álcool e, em seguida, enfrentem uma doença fatal como a AIDS. Mas a gente consegue através da assistência religiosa, da fé em Deus. Nós temos doentes que, pela análise médica, não conseguimos explicar como estão vivos. A explicação está na vontade de viver, na força espiritual, na assistência religiosa que é dada para eles.

Amai-vos: Além do ambulatório, há também a Casa de Apoio Santo Antônio. Que ligação existe entre o tratamento nesses dois lugares?

Dra. Maria Inez: Nós atendíamos a essas pessoas, mas elas voltavam para a rua pelo fato de o ambulatório fechar às 17 horas. Novamente recorri a Dom Eugenio para pedir-lhe ajuda. Daí surgiu a idéia de abrir uma casa para acolhê-las. Assim a Arquidiocese inaugurou a primeira casa de apoio no Rio de Janeiro, específica para essa população, em 1993. Essa casa, que fica em Realengo, é coordenada pelas Irmãs de Calcutá, sendo voltada para o atendimento de mulheres e crianças. Para prestar atendimento aos homens, a Arquidiocese também através do Banco da Providência, abriu no ano seguinte a Casa de Apoio Santo Antônio, no Cosme Velho. Quem cuida dessa casa são as Irmãs de São Camilo, que além dos homens atende a adolescentes e crianças, na maioria dos casos, filhos dos próprios pacientes.

Amai-vos: A mesma equipe do ambulatório atende nessa casa?

Dra. Maria Inez: Sim. Evidentemente que para os exames mais sofisticados, Raio X, Endoscopia, Ultrasonografia, os pacientes vêm até o ambulatório. Mas a equipe também se desloca até lá, fazendo com que os pacientes tenham toda assistência. Além disso, as irmãs também são enfermeiras.

Amai-vos: Vocês têm algum convênio?

Dra. Maria Inez: Temos convênios nacionais, através do Ministério da Saúde que nos ajuda a manter, e com outros países como a Itália e a Holanda. Temos ainda a ajuda da Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz) na área de pesquisa, e da Faculdade Cândido Mendes, que nos dá apoio jurídico. Mas é claro que estamos sempre dependendo de doações financeiras, de medicamentos, de roupas, de alimentos, pois trabalhamos com uma parte da população que realmente não tem nada.

Amai-vos: Você também está à frente da Associação dos Médicos Católicos da Arquidiocese. Qual é o objetivo dessa entidade?

Dra. Maria Inez: A nossa missão é tentar integrar a ética católica à ciência e à ética médica. Ou seja, como é que o médico católico deve se posicionar hoje diante de questões como o aborto, o uso de preservativo, a eutanásia, por exemplo. Procuramos também dar assessoria a Arquidiocese sobre esses temas que foram sempre muito polêmicos. Atualmente contamos com quase 70 médicos cadastrados. Além disso, temos como função evangelizar a área da saúde, através de reuniões que fazemos a cada dois meses na sede da Arquidiocese.

Ambulatório da Providência
Rua Francisco Eugênio, 348
São Cristóvão
Rio de Janeiro – RJ
Tels: 568-7912 / 254-8361
Horário de funcionamento: das 8h às 17h
Consultas pré-marcadas dependendo de cada caso
Casa de Apoio Santo Antônio
Ladeira do Ascurra, 186
Cosme Velho
Rio de Janeiro – RJ
Tel: 205-8794

Casa de Apoio Sagrado Coração de Jesus
Avenida Santa Cruz, 1125
Rio de Janeiro – RJ
Tel: 332-9993