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eJIAS and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation's Secure the Future Program


Secure the Future, Bristol-Myers Squibb's landmark $115 million program to offer care and support for the women and children affected and infected by HIV/AIDS in 9 countries in Southern and Western Africa, recently marked its 5-year anniversary. During that time it has supported nearly 200 programs in these countries to offer new approaches to medical research and care and community outreach and education, especially in resource-limited settings. These projects have included new studies focusing on mother-to-child transmission of HIV after birth, the development of CD4 tests that have reduced costs by up to 80%, the first HIV reference laboratory for HIV diagnosis and testing in Botswana, the first pediatric HIV/AIDS treatment and research center in Africa, and a groundbreaking healthcare training curriculum in HIV/AIDS, along with scores of projects supporting home-based care, counseling, prevention, destigmatization and education, income generation, nutritional support, and much more. In each project, the aim has been to find ways to create sustainable solutions that are appropriate for each setting and to do so in ways that build capacity for the future in each of these areas. Secure the Future recently opened a series of comprehensive community-based treatment and support centers to serve as model programs through which newly available antiretroviral treatments can be delivered, while at the same time offering the kind of community-based support and resources, from counseling to home-based care, that will be required if these treatments are to truly succeed.

In doing all of this, we have learned the critical importance of sharing learnings and extending the reach of these programs through partnerships and communications efforts. That is why we believe that supporting eJIAS: eJournal of the International AIDS Society, a groundbreaking online journal that will allow clinicians and researchers from developing countries to share their findings and learn from each other, is so vital. Given the geographies represented, the difficulties of transportation, language, and resources, creating new and effective ways for frontline HIV/AIDS health workers to communicate their research findings and clinical experiences is not only appropriate, it is critical. In founding eJIAS, the International AIDS Society has recognized that the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa and around the world demands new approaches to how scientific information is disseminated. The urgency is great, and the needs are even greater, as the ability of a growing number of researchers and clinicians to publish without assistance, according to the rules and requirements of most established medical journals, is often as limited as their ability to study and respond to the AIDS pandemic in the resource-restricted settings in which they work.

In supporting eJIAS with a founding grant, Secure the Future is making an investment in the future – by enabling physicians and researchers in the developing world to continue to learn from each other and work together to make a greater difference in their fight against this terrible pandemic.

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John Damonti is an employee of Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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Damonti, J. eJIAS and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation's Secure the Future Program. JIAS 6, 57 (2004).

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