Ethiopia and U.S. Sign Agreement on HIV/AIDS

In a joint effort to prevent and control HIV/AIDS and other diseases in the Ethiopian military, the United States, through CDC, will assist the National Defense Forces of Ethiopia with the development of voluntary testing and counseling services and behavioral change training, according to the U.S. Embassy. The initiative would receive 2.8 million birr (US $326,816) per year for five years under an agreement signed recently by U.S. Ambassador Aurelia E. Brazeal, CDC Country Director Dr. Tadesse Wuhib, and Head of Administration and Finance of the Ethiopian Ministry of Defense, Major-General Haile Tilahun.

The financial and technical assistance provided by CDC under the agreement will be used to establish counseling and testing services in military hospitals at Harar and Mekele for soldiers, their families and other civilians. Assistance will also be given to implement a behavioral change communication strategy through peer leadership training to stem HIV's spread among soldiers in the south and along the Ethiopia-Djibouti transportation corridor. Plans are also underway to extend the collaboration to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission through the provision of care and treatment, including antiretroviral drugs. The CDC agreement augments a U.S. Department of Defense program already under way to combat HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia's armed forces.

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