The International AIDS Society has awarded AHF Brazil social worker and linkage/retention in care agent Nathalya Cristhine with the “Me and My Healthcare Provider” award, which promotes best practice in HIV service delivery, often in the face of stigma and discrimination.
Nathalya works with many of the 3,000 registered HIV patients at Otávio de Freitas University Hospital in Recife, Brazil. The hospital sits in an area of high social vulnerability, allowing it to serve many HIV key populations, such as the local homeless population, injecting drug users, transgender people, and sex workers, among others.
“The greatest rewards of my job are creating connections through compassionate care, the joy of seeing someone’s diagnosis not defining their life, and developing a greater understanding of the disease’s progression,” said Nathalya. “A large challenge is dismantling public policies that directly harm the care of people living with HIV/AIDS. Health care must be expanded to account for social determinants instead of traditional biomedical control. We must consider harm reduction practices, health education, and the embodied narratives of those living without human rights.”
From 2018 to 2021, 700 new patients began accessing ART at the hospital following the partnership with AHF. AHF Brazil collaborates with government partners on the “Me and My Healthcare Provider” project with the “Nobody Left Behind” initiative, focusing on the broader needs of key populations affected by HIV.