At the end of a red dirt road, near the source of the Nile River is St. Francis Health Care Services, an HIV/AIDS clinic serving some of the poorest people in Jinja District, Uganda. Faustine Ngarambe, the clinic's founder and executive director, started St. Francis after a friend died of AIDS, alone and stigmatized in Kenya.
"He was dying silently within himself," said Ngarambe. "And when he was brought back to Uganda for burial, even his parents did not even view the body."
St. Francis, which benefits from U.S. foreign assistance, offers its patients services that heal not only the body, but the mind as well: counseling, nutrition and agriculture education, financial assistance, support groups for young people and grandmothers, and more. It's this kind of holistic approach to HIV/AIDS care that has made Uganda an oft-cited role model for decreasing HIV/AIDS rates. HIV prevalence in Uganda is currently at 6 to 7 percent, according to a UNAIDS report released Nov. 30, 2011, down from about 14 percent in 1990, according to a UNAIDS study from 2010.
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