HIV/AIDS "Friends Unit"
The Friends Unit of Kissy United Methodist Hospital works to combat the health threat, social stigma, and spread of HIV/AIDS in Freetown and Sierra Leone. The Friends Unit began in 2001, and has since served more than 1,300 patients living with HIV/AIDS. Today, the number of people living with the disease in Sierra Leone is increasing, as is the demand for the services and Christian compassion offered by the Friends Unit at Kissy Hospital.The Friends Unit offers a range of services, including HIV testing, counseling, home-based care, antiretroviral medicines, and livelihood programs for HIV/AIDS patients and their families. The patients receive assistance from the Friends Unit knowing that their status will remain confidential, since so many people with HIV/AIDS are shunned from their families and neighborhoods.
Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission
The Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) program for HIV-positive pregnant women began in 2004. The PMTCT program offers support to the expectant mothers and provides critical drugs that prevent the virus from spreading to the baby during childbirth. Over a two year period 8,000 women and children at Kissy Hospital have benefited from this program.
The Friends Unit also works to educate and prevent the spread of the disease throughout Sierra Leone through school presentations, public radio announcements, and working with local United Methodist Churches to educate church members on HIV/AIDS.