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Ten years ago, Womens’s Equity in Access to Care and Treatment (WE-ACTx) answered a call from Rwandan women’s associations to help women with HIV gain access to life saving antiretroviral therapy. Many of the women in these associations had been raped and infected during the genocide and were becoming sicker and had no medicines for HIV. The men who had raped them were in jail and they were receiving medicines for their HIV infection. Working with these grassroots women’s groups and the Rwandan public health system, WE-ACTx set up a clinic to quickly assess and start these women on antiretroviral medications for HIV.
The program expanded over the last decade and has provided comprehensive medical and psychosocial care to over 3000 women, men and children with HIV. Mental health treatment, support groups, nutritional supplements, income generation, vocational training, school fees, peer advocacy, children and youth friendly programs have made a tremendous impact in improving the health and well being of the patients. This all Rwandan staffed multidiscplinary program is a model for high quality HIV care in sub-Sarharan Africa.