Major grant to IU School of Medicine will expand HIV/AIDS programs in Kenya

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana University School of Medicine has been awarded a $8.9 million federal grant to expand its highly regarded HIV/AIDS programs in Kenya, tripling the number of patients who will be receiving anti-retroviral drug treatments.

The grant, from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, is in addition to a $15 million grant for the HIV/AIDS program received by the IU School of Medicine in 2004.

"This funding will save tens of thousands of lives," said Robert Einterz, M.D., associate dean for International Programs in the School of Medicine and director of the IU-Moi program.

The program, known as AMPATH for Academic Model for the Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS, is operated in collaboration with Moi University School of Medicine and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. It includes screening programs for pregnant women, efforts to control tuberculosis, and education and training programs for Kenyan medical personnel. AMPATH has opened HIV/AIDS care clinics and screening programs at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, eight other hospitals and six rural health centers.

The IU School of Medicine has collaborated with Moi University School of Medicine in Eldoret, Kenya, since Moi's inception in 1990. The IU School of Medicine has supported a team of faculty members and students on-site in Eldoret for the last fifteen years. In addition to enabling IU to contribute to the international effort to reverse the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, the collaboration strengthens both the Moi University and IU schools of medicine, Dr. Einterz said.

Not only do participating IU students benefit from their experiences treating diseases little seen in the U.S., but the program strengthens the values taught by the IU School of Medicine, Dr. Einterz said.

With the new $8.9 million grant, the AMPATH program will be providing anti-retroviral drug treatments to 18,000 people by September 2007, three times as many as in the fall of 2005. Officials expect to enroll nearly 50,000 persons into the AMPATH program for anti-retroviral and other services by the end of 2007.

The program also will provide screening to more than 25,000 pregnant women annually, as well as counseling and treatment to those who are infected with HIV to prevent transmission of the virus to their children.

The program also will expand efforts to reduce the incidence of tuberculosis, which affects more than 10 percent of newly enrolled HIV patients in the region.

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, announced in 2003, is a five-year, $15 billion initiative that aims to provide treatment to at least two million HIV-infected individuals, prevent seven million new HIV infections, and provide care and support to 10 million people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, including orphans and vulnerable children.

An estimated 25.8 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are living with HIV infection, an estimated 1.2 million of them in Kenya.

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