Louise Lief

Fighting AIDS in Obama's Ancestral Land

The Root


World AIDS Day is approaching, and it’s time, once again, for an accounting. In the roughly 30 years since the disease was recognized, more than 25 million (pdf) have died from it. An estimated 34 million (pdf) are living with it; 2.5 million new infections are recorded each year.

There has been progress. As anti-retroviral medications become more widely available, more of those infected live longer. The yearly rate of new infections has declined.

Much of the research behind those successes takes place in sub-Saharan Africa, where 69 percent of those living with HIV reside. Few people know that many of President Barack Obama’s Kenyan relations and hundreds of thousands of their neighbors in the Nyanza Province of western Kenya play a pivotal role in this research, in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more at The Root.

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Louise Lief is an independent consultant to philanthropy, non-profits and media, helping mission-driven organizations design, execute and communicate program strategies to achieve their objectives with maximum impact.

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