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1,000 euros from the University to fight AIDS in Congo

Dr. Silvia Carlos receives the award Dolores Trigo for the work in the Monkole Hospital Center to develop preventive campaigns for the disease.

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Silvia Carlos
PHOTO: Manuel Castells
03/10/14 16:21 Miriam Salcedo

Dr. Silvia Carlos, professor of the Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine and collaborator of the project 'Education of affectivity and human sexuality' of the Institute for Culture and Society of the University of Navarra has received 1,000 euros from the award Dolores Trigo for her work 'The pharmacist for Africa: working for the health of developing countries development '. This work, carried out at the Monkole Hospital Center in Kinshasa (Congo), was the winner of this award awarded by the association of alumni of the School Pharmacy of Santiago de Compostela for being the best project original and unpublished on a topic related to the pharmaceutical profession and of interest to it.

The study, conducted with 1,630 participants, consisted of an initial questionnaire on sexual behaviors and knowledge of the disease, and an HIV diagnostic test. From the analysis of the 274 positive AIDS cases, it was concluded that infection with the disease in this region of Congo (prevalence in Kinshasa is 1.6%) is associated with risky sexual behaviors (mainly multiple sexual partners) and with a high level of ignorance of the infection and its prevention. 

The Education as an essential axis to prevent HIV.

"To put an end to HIV you have to go to the root cause and by educating in public health you can influence changes in behavior, generally conditioned by erroneous knowledge," explains Dr. Carlos. In the fight against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, the expert points out,"it is core topic to reach the population with campaigns such as the 'ABC prevention strategy' (Abstinence, delaying the onset of sexual relations; Be faithful, mutual monogamy; and Condom, condom), through the appropriate communication channels for the local context".

The goal of work sought to improve prevention programs, since, according to Professor Carlos, "the work of the pharmacist also consists of educating the population to prevent diseases". The aim of this study was to put an end to false beliefs and myths about AIDS, such as "it is transmitted by mosquitoes" (a belief held by 10% of the participants), "a person with HIV cannot look good (around 40%), "HIV is transmitted by witchcraft" (35%), "by divine punishment" (26%), or "by a kiss on the mouth" (18%).

 "Once the population's knowledge of the disease, their attitude towards it and their risk behaviors have been detected, effective and lasting preventive campaigns such as the ABC strategy can be designed," says the expert, who adds: "Thanks to the donation of this award, the Monkole Hospital Center will be able to help many Congolese people to improve their health".