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According to UNAIDS, the U.N. agency dedicated to addressing the AIDS pandemic, 33 million people around the world are living with HIV or AIDS. Every year on Dec. 1, the international community observes World AIDS Day to raise awareness about the disease. For many faculty, staff and students at Columbia University, however, responding to the AIDS pandemic is a daily commitment. Here is a snapshot of some of the efforts at Columbia that are working to help address the global challenge.

At the Mailman School of Public Health, the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) supports approximately 560,000 people in Africa and Asia with HIV care. Under the leadership of Wafaa El-Sadr, ICAP has become a global leader in the expansion of HIV programs and a key implementing partner for United States government-funded grants to support international HIV services. ICAP offers services at 700 sites in 14 resource-poor countries, principally in sub-Saharan Africa. By the end of last year, ICAP supported almost 10 percent of all individuals and 12 percent of all children receiving antiretroviral treatment in sub-Saharan Africa.

Based at the Columbia University Medical Center, the Center for AIDS Research, directed by Joyce Anastasi, Ph.D., Dr.N.P., R.N., F.A.A.N., provides a comprehensive framework for training, educational programs and research which addresses health promotion, disease prevention, symptom management and quality of life for individuals with HIV in New York City. The goal of the center is to create innovative research and service approaches for the prevention and management of HIV for patients.

Through the Millennium Villages Project, based at Columbia's Earth Institute, people with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are receiving improved care and have access to life-saving medication. At the Millennium Village in Mayange, Rwanda, testing and prevention of mother-to-child transmission services are now offered at the local health center, as well as tuberculosis diagnosis. All this is possible thanks in large part to the work the project has done to refurbish the health center and improve management. In 2005, before the project began, the health center received 6,146 patient visits. In 2007, 41,690 patient visits were recorded at the Mayange health center.

The Access Project, a program of the Center for Global Health and Economic Development (CGHED), also part of the Earth Institute, brings management expertise to public health systems in the developing world. In its flagship country, Rwanda, the project strengthens health system management at the local level, working directly with local health centers, to reach those most in need, Rwanda's poor. Working in 79 health centers across six districts, Access helps to improve patient outcomes and ensure better health care for nearly two million people. Improved management practices not only facilitate overall quality of health care, but also specifically enable expanded services for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other tropical diseases, which disproportionately affect poor, young and rural populations.

Established in 1987 with a grant from the National Institute for Mental Health, the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies Center, a joint initiative of Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, has become a recognized leader in the fight against AIDS among different populations. The center's researchers conduct interdisciplinary research on HIV/AIDS-related issues including behavior change, sexuality, mental health and ethics and policy. A core part of its work focuses on offering outreach and support to a broad range of HIV-infected and-affected populations in New York City, particularly women, children and families.

More information about these and other HIV/AIDS initiatives can be obtained by visiting the Web sites of individual Columbia schools and programs.

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