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Improving AIDS Education in Belize

Sarah Gottfried, MIT '04 (Kelly-Douglas Fellow, January 2003)

7 p.m., Wednesday, February 26, 2003
in MIT Room 4-231

This event is part of our "It's Our Planet" series, in which members of the MIT community report on research, activism, or volunteer work they have done across the hemisphere.

The rate of HIV/AIDS infection per capita in Belize is the highest in Central America and among the highest in the world. One NGO reports: "In 1994, less than 1 percent of pregnant women in Belize district tested positive for HIV. One year later, that rate had risen to 2.5 percent. Belize has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the region, and young people are at high risk of HIV infection. As in the rest of the developing world, the epidemic in Belize is fueled by poverty, unemployment, a poor health care infrastructure, and population mobility." Can anything be done about it? Working with other volunteers and with local health agencies in rural San Ignacio last month, MIT biology major Sarah Gottfried helped put together an AIDS education campaign. She returns to tell us exactly what she did and what she learned.

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