Drew Center for AIDS Research, Education, and Service – International Research

Drew CARES is dedicated to not only improving the health of the underserved locally, but around the world. Or work is done in such a way that empowers communities and provides the resources and information necessary for healthier lives.

We work to identify the specific needs, resources and challenges within the local environment. This approach ensures long-term success that is self-sustaining and relevant to the community.

Currently, we have projects in Angola and Zambia. Past projects include Belize, Jamaica, and Rwanda. We invite you to explore and hope you can join us in our endeavors abroad.

Zambia: Rise Up! and HBCU Global Health Consortium (October 2019-Present)

Charles R. Drew University (CDU) is part of a Consortium of four historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States, which is working to support Ministry of Health Level One District Hospitals in Lusaka, Zambia. This project is supported by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The HBCU Global Health Consortium is designed to transform clinical HIV practice to provide high quality, comprehensive, interprofessional care and treatment to people living with HIV. The overall aim is to assist the Republic of Zambia in addressing the PEPFAR 95-95-95 targets: 95% of people living with HIV (PLWH) know their HIV status; 95% of PLWH are initiated on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART); and that 95% of those on ART are virally suppressed.

CDU is working with Rise Up! House, a safe place that provides clinical and social support services to adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) aged 15-24 years old. There are 4 Rise Up! Program sites: Chawama, Kanyama, Chilenje, and Matero. The objectives of the Rise Up! project are:

  • To reduce HIV infection rates among 15-24-year-old AGYW by preventing new infections, ensuring adherence to medication, and suppression of viral load.
  • To replicate Rise Up! model in Level 1 hospitals in the Lusaka District and beyond.
  • To link and retain newly diagnosed HIV-positive AGYW to HIV care, treatment, and psychosocial support and provide intervention activities including youth friendly HIV peer navigation services.
  • To create and nurture partnerships with community-based organizations and implementing partners to enhance efficiency and sustainability.
  • To provide linkage to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) services and counseling in a private setting.

Angola (2002-Present)

Charles R. Drew University has had an active presence in Angola for more than 10 years. The partnership between CDU and the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) is supported by the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the US Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP).

The overarching goal is to prevent the spread of HIV among military personnel in Angola. The program objective is to provide technical assistance to the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) through different evidence-based methods in order to strength their military HIV Prevention Program. The key components of this program include:

  • HIV testing and linkage to care
  • Prevention and awareness
  • Treatment and support for HIV positive people
  • Support for institutional capacity building
  • Strategic Information (Behavioral Surveillance & HIV Seroprevalence, 2015)

Key strategies include:

  • Expanding the Activists HIV prevention program and strengthen the capacity of the over 500 activists previously trained within the Angolan Armed Forces
  • Developing voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) sites throughout Angola to deliver quality VCT services and effective HIV prevention to military personnel
  • Providing training to improve HIV diagnosis, treatment and psychosocial support for HIV positive individuals
  • Conducting quantitative and qualitative research on behavioral risk factors of HIV infection
  • Promoting leadership support to know and recognize the threat posed by HIV/AIDS to national security

Rwanda (2006-2017)

Since 2005, Charles R. Drew University has been working in partnership with the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) and Drew Cares International (DCI) to implement an HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care grant funded by the U.S. Department of Defense/PEPFAR.
This partnership sought to improve the treatment options for RDF personnel, family, and community living with HIV/AIDS, and thus reduce the national prevalence rate; to improve HIV prevention among RDF personnel, family, and community; and to improve the Strategic Information resources and capacity at RDF health service facilities.

Belize (2010-2014)

Charles R. Drew University had been engaged with the Belizean Military HIV Prevention Program since it was officially launched in May of 2010 with the technical and financial support of the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the US Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP).

The overall goal of this project was to increase the capacity of the Belize Defense Force (BDF) to prevent HIV infection and to promote voluntary counseling and testing among military personnel, their families and their community. Program objectives were to: develop a written strategic plan to address the needs of the BDF in responding to the challenges of HIV in the military and surrounding civilian populations; integrate HIV prevention education and training into routine training; and promote voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) of HIV for military personnel, their families and their communities.

Accomplishments & Highlights: 2010-2014

  • HIV Policy approved by Defense Board and printed
  • HIV Strategic Plan approved by Defense Board and printed
  • HIV Logo and slogan developed
  • Senior Officer Leadership and Management Training held yearly
  • HIV Committee selected and functioning (quarterly meetings)
  • Assistant Project Director hired to assist in program implementation
  • STI pamphlet developed for military personnel
  • Know Your Status poster developed for military personnel
  • Peer Advocates Kits developed and distributed
  • 31 Peer Advocates completed training
  • Belizario Health Center refurbished, equipped and launched
  • Force Hospital Conference Room AV equipment upgraded
  • Felipa's Story training video series created

Jamaica (2009-2014)

The Military HIV/AIDS Prevention Program in Jamaica began in August 2009 and is concerned with building the capacity of the Jamaica Defense Force to respond to HIV and AIDS. There are five components of project activities implemented with the technical assistance of Charles R. Drew University. These include: Strategic Planning; Leadership and HIV Program Management Training; Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) include mobile VCT; Behavioral and Serologic Surveillance; and Management. Program objectives were to: raise awareness and comprehension of the JDF HIV policy, strategic plan and BSS results at all levels of the JDF; develop strategic routine HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) in the JDF and reduce HIV stigma among military personnel, through the establishment of a Health Education Center; and increase the capacity of the JDF to collect and analyze HIV risk behavior data.
Main achievements of the program include: the development of a draft policy for routine education and screening for health lifestyles, and the draft policy on confidentiality and non-disclosure of service members' health status; training and certification of 18 service members in HIV Rapid testing, and training and qualification of 23 service members as VCT skill providers; a Behavioral and Serologic Survey, which was conducted on 8-19 November 2010.