January 30, 2002
AIDS LINK DEVELOPED BY SAN FRANCISCO GROUP
KENYA VILLAGES GAIN ACCESS TO TREATMENT AND RESEARCH INFORMATION
AIDS healthcare workers in Kenyan Villages can now access up-to-date AIDS treatment and research information through
an innovative new program developed by two San Francisco-based nonprofit groups, WiRED International, and Global
Strategies for HIV Prevention. The National Institutes of Health Office of AIDS Research provided funding for this
test pilot to evaluate a proposal to expand the use of computers as a community resource in the fight against AIDS
The resource centers setup in the initial five villages each have four computers and five local resource coordinators trained
by WiRED International to serve as the link between the wealth of information available on the computers and the needs of the
local community. The initial training program prepared coordinators to offer service in two ways: they can research the available
data basis for answers needed by the health care workers and they can teach members of the community to perform their own research.
Professional medical staff, home healthcare workers responsible for the care of family members with AIDS, and young people
looking for HIV/AIDS prevention information will all have access to the resource center.
Each center received an extensive CD-ROM collection compiled by WiRED from the latest AIDS material available from government
institutions, public research groups, and companies involved in AIDS-related research. The CD collection also includes a
comprehensive library of medical conditions, treatments and prevention techniques for illnesses common to the region. As
the coordinators gain experience with the materials and identify new needs, the CDs will be updated. Village centers with
ISP service available will also be able to use the Internet.
During a recent visit to Kenya to review the installation of the computers and the training programs, WiRED Executive Director,
Dr. Gary Selnow of San Francisco State University observed, "Everyone in Africa is touched by AIDS. In communities where up to
25% of the population is HIV infected, everyone has lost a family member or a close friend and continues to care for other
people suffering from the disease. Many of the coordinators in the Audience were left orphans at a young age. They sensed
immediately the importance of having up-to-date facts to use in the treatment of AIDS and in the ongoing efforts to prevent
the spread of HIV infection."
The Kenya AIDS community resource center program was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. With the funding,
WiRED will pay for all hardware and software, the initial training program, and the operation of the centers for one year.
During the year, the effectiveness of the program will be measured by independent research conducted by social psychologist,
Professor William Crano of the Claremont Graduate University. After the effectiveness research is completed, the National
Institutes of Health will consider expanding the program to other areas of Africa.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The Institutes conduct and
support research and promote communication of medical information. The NIH website is
Global Strategies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing international strategies to prevent HIV infection.
The network of alliances built by Global Strategies has become a major force in the fight against AIDS. Their web site is
WiRED is a San Francisco-based, non-governmental, nonprofit organization providing Internet technology, expertise, and
training to disadvantaged people in troubled areas of the world. Funding for WiRED projects comes from private individuals,
corporations, humanitarian foundations in the United States and abroad, and from government organizations such as USAID, the
US State Department, and the National Institutes of Health.