LatinaLista -- Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization that goes to parts of the world that have limited access to medical care. One part of the world that meets that definition is Zimbabwe, Africa.
In Zimbabwe, Doctors Without Borders is treating over 34,000 patients, including many children and teenagers who are afflicted with HIV/AIDS. Zimbabwe is a country with the third highest HIV rates in Southern Africa.
Fourteen percent of adults (about one million people) and 150,000 children are currently living with HIV. To help educate the people and spread awareness of the virus, Doctors Without Borders is tapping into a traditional practice used in Zimbabwe to relay important news -- music.
This past Thursday, which was Worlds AIDS Day, Doctors Without Borders launched the music project "Positive Generation: Voices for an AIDS-free Future."
Support group choirs, largely made up of Zimbabweans living with or affected by the virus, offer an open, positive approach to HIV/AIDS education. Their testimonies and songs raise awareness about how to prevent the spread of the disease and encourage people to seek HIV diagnosis and treatment.
In addition to the native choirs, several internationally well-known music artists have joined the project. Artists like Alejandro Sanz, Carlos Vives, Juan Luis Guerra and Estrella Morente are lending their talents towards the project which includes a documentary, a CD/book and website.
AIDS/HIV programs around the world are being threatened with funding cuts. Hopes are to raise money from the music project to help continue funding treatment and preventive measures.
"We are facing a serious situation. We are seeing some of the most promising developments in more than a decade of treating patients living with HIV/AIDS, with the potential to turn this epidemic around. Yet these promises will come to nothing if there is not enough funding; we are even running a serious risk of losing ground in the fight against HIV/AIDS," said Paula Farias, project coordinator of Positive Generation.