Thursday, May 25, 2017

TASO

The Aids Support Organization is something that was started 30 years ago after Christopher Kaleeba was in a bad accident and needed a blood transfusion, the one he received was by a donor that was HIV positive and didn't know. Since then TASO has used the support in donations from the CDC and Catholic Relief Charities to tighten the cap on AIDs.

TASO's mission is to restore hope in those HIV positive and change the stigma associated with the virus. The organization uses a holistic and client centered approach. With the client consent, their family and friends come in and talk about the things the client is going for to build a strong support system. They also assign a drug companion to each client which is a family member or friend who holds the client accountable to taking their medicine and going to follow up appointments.

Like any other virus, prevention is the best method. That being said TASO is very good at providing counseling supports as well as education about HIV and how to prevent it. They also work on preventive care for expectant mothers putting them on the right drugs throughout their pregnancy, followed with postnatal care and syrups to keep the baby healthy. Because of these efforts they have only had one baby born HIV positive and that was because the mom came in to get services too late.

I am interested to learn what kinds of media campaigns they could launch within the communities to continue to change the stigma that goes along with being HIV positive. They have already come so far in changing the thoughts that went along with someone walking to TASO to receive services, I feel as if the organization can only go up from here! People with HIV are no longer hiding or ashamed, they are taking the right drugs to live a happier, healthier, and longer life.

8 comments:

  1. Carolyn, thank you for summarizing the event so nicely. Although I was unable to attend the event due to research, TASO sounds similar to Reach Out. Both companies are doing an excellent job with their HIV/AIDS work. From my perspective, it seems like they are sustainable programs. Instead of simply giving people medication and testing for HIV, they are educating people about what the disease is and how to prevent it. Education is undeniably essential for sustainability. If they were only distributing ARV drugs and testing, it would not be sustainable because the problem would continue almost the same way it had before TASO stepped in. It is exciting to see where these programs will go and what the future of Uganda, and Africa, will look like with their help. Do you know how they dispose of infected needles or other equipment? This could effect environmental sustainability.

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  2. Hi, thank you for the great post! I really found this event very intriguing and inspiring. This organization provided such an important service and did such an incredible job of reducing stigma. Something I found interesting was that HIV and Aids is primarily an issue for women here rather than in the U.S. it is considered a LGBTQ+ issue. I think if it was a LGBTQ+ issue here, it wouldn't get nearly as much attention. But regardless, the fact that they exist and are providing these women with such an important service was truly incredible to witness.

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    1. I noticed that too sarah-rose? I know that LGBTQ+ individuals had a hard fight in the U.S. to get drugs that would treat HIV/ AIDS. I wonder if it was similar in Uganda or if their federal drug administration was more lenient on the drugs entering Uganda?

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  3. I really appreciated TASO and the work that they are doing in Uganda. HIV/ AIDS in the U.S. is kind looked at like it is the "End all be all" of someone's life. TASO has educated individuals with HIV/AIDS and communities that a person with this disease in no less of a person/ no less able because they have HIV/ AIDS. I believe that TASO has marketed itself well, they are recognized by CDC, by ReachOut, hospitals, and by their own government as a reliable NGO. They have already gone out and spoken with neighborhoods and communities to help reduce the stigma of HIV/ AIDS. The stigma has already reduced significantly in Uganda and I believe that no new strategy is needed, but continuous work on what they already have been doing.

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  4. I think that it is difficult to take a marginalized, stigmatized population, and care for them and love them in a way that not only inspires hope into those people, but also changes the way other people view them. For this, I have a lot of respect for TASO. They welcomed people with HIV/Aids, which was something totally progressive and uncommon at the time. Now they have transformed their small organization into a successful, accurate, and vast movement that is changing the way the world views Aids/HIV. I know that this country has homophobia rooted deeply within its culture, so I wonder what kinds of things they do for the LGBTQ+ community. I would love to see some strides taken towards helping homosexuals with HIV/Aids or some public campaigns to reduce the stigma of that. At one point in time in Uganda, people with HIV were outcasts, just like how homosexuals are now. I know that with a little work, TASO could also change the stigma towards the LGBTQ+ community, so I think it's something they should work towards.

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  5. Thank you for this post! I was disappointed when I was not able to attend this event but your summary made me feel a little more connected to an organization that has such a positive impact on its community. HIV/AIDS prevalence within Uganda has decreased and it seems mainly due to the progression of NGOs like this one. The advocacy, support, and focus on the individual clients are the strategies that effectively make this a sustainable program. Prevention mechanisms like education within primary and secondary schools as well as in universities is a useful tool, however I wonder if this organization has considered more outreach programs to de-stigmatise what it means to be HIV positive. Not only does the HIV positive person and their close friends and family need to be informed, but the community as a whole needs access to correct information. There could be a person in your class, at your work, or living within your neighborhood that has been tested positive and no matter your personal connection with that individual, respect, support, and some basic level of knowledge would prevent ignorance and discrimination. TASO contributes greatly, yet I think more can be done in connecting all people together, no matter if they are HIV positive or not.

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  6. Thank you for the awesome post Carol! I was so bummed that I could not make it to this event, so I am glad to be able to read your summary. The thing I appreciate the most about TASO is that it doesn't just give people with HIV/AIDs medicine and then send them on their way, but rather it focuses very heavily on preventative measures, using education as its major force to help decrease the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. I think that this education is not only necessary for containing HIV and ensuring that people know how to implement the safety precautions within their daily lives, but also is absolutely fundamental in removing the stigma surrounding those with HIV/AIDS, and allowing them to feel supported by their community, rather than feeling ashamed or isolated. I think that implementing education into this organization and making people responsible for their own health outcomes makes this a sustainable program whose strategies I believe will continue to decrease the number of HIV/AIDS cases in Uganda.

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  7. Interesting post, Carol! Although I was not able to attend the event due to work in Kikandwa, it would seem that the philosophy here is in line with the major shift to preventative care in Uganda as described by Patrick Bitature. I think it is extremely important that TASO is taking preventative measures both with expecting mothers and through counseling. This is not only a sustainable practice for the organization, but it also promotes economic development through being extremely cost-effective. The fewer ARV treatments being administered, the lower the cost for both the organization and the patients. Further, it sounds like their work to reduce the stigma associated with receiving their services has fostered social inclusion in the community. In these ways, TASO sounds like an organization that contributes significantly to sustainable development in Uganda and is a major player in the public health sector.

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