Thanks to a new and unique project, HIV/AIDS testing and treatment services are now being delivered by boat to indigenous populations in the most isolated areas of the Peruvian Amazon.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Peru vessel, Angely from Amazonas, adds the first watercraft to AHF’s fleet of mobile testing units, which until now, have all been automobiles. The boat was named in honor of a nine-year-old girl from the region who lost her battle to AIDS—she lived in a remote area and could not access HIV testing and medicines.
“We can’t wait for people who are already very sick with AIDS to come to us for treatment,” said Dr. Patricia Campos, AHF’s Bureau Chief for Latin America and the Caribbean. “We need to go to where the people are to test them quickly, and the only way to do that in this part of the continent is by river.”
The boat’s ability to travel to hard-to-reach areas will bring vital free services to indigenous communities, including HIV testing, condoms and antiretroviral medication. It will also provide much needed education on HIV/AIDS to help lower prevalence, which can be more than double that of non-Amazon regions in Peru.
“This was entirely a community effort,” said AHF Peru Country Program Manager Dr. José Luis Sebastián Mesones. “This new river boat can only be successful with mobilization among the indigenous peoples—who now trust AHF and welcome us into their hamlets.”
AHF invites you to watch and share this exciting video detailing Angely from Amazonas’s maiden voyage!