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At a glance: Djibouti

Djibouti: Centre for HIV-positive women offers new hope

© UNICEF video
A woman entering the New Hope centre in Djibouti city.

By Thomas Nybo

DJIBOUTI, Djibouti, 15 December 2005 – Sandwiched between buildings in a poor neighborhood of Djibouti city is a new association for women who are HIV-positive. It's called ‘New Hope’ and was started by a woman we'll call Aisha Halim, who is HIV-positive. The programme now helps about 100 HIV-positive women. The government has supplied her with a building – and now she's turned to UNICEF to ask for technical and material support.

"We have to encourage this,” says UNICEF Communication Officer Omar Habib, ”because women are more affected [by HIV] than men. It took a lot of time by them to be accepted and the community was not really eager at the beginning to accept it. And it is good that now they have a place in a slum and this will contribute to the change in behavior of people, to see that these people are like others."

Currently the association offers information about treating and preventing HIV/AIDS. Many women feel they can't keep their life-saving antiretroviral medications at home, for fear of being kicked out if their husbands learn their HIV status. They look to ‘New Hope’ for privacy and discretion.

‘Aisha’ credits her two children for giving her the courage to open New Hope. "I was obliged to fight because I have children. I have responsibilities. I want to see them grow up," she says. More than 5,000 children have been orphaned in Djibouti as a result of HIV/AIDS. Innovative programs like ‘New Hope’ are working to keep that number from growing, one family at a time.














15 December 2005:
UNICEF correspondent Thomas Nybo reports on a centre in Djibouti founded specifically for HIV-positive women.

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