The Olmoti community and surrounding villages received a vital new medical service this summer, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Joe Caperna, an HIV specialist from San Diego. Visiting the region through Olmoti Clinic's arrangements, Dr. Caperna engaged a highly receptive community in a once-taboo subject: HIV-AIDS. The doctor conducted 10 days of educational outreach and testing.
He tested hundreds of people and we were happy to find just small incidence of the disease: Of 743 men, women and children tested, Dr. Caperna found six HIV cases, an encouraging result at less than 1 percent of the population.
During the educational presentations, the Maasai asked many questions about prevention, treatment and consequences for sex and reproduction. It is difficult to overstate the magnitude of this milestone – bringing these topics into the open – for the health of the community. Now the Maasai in this region are prepared to decrease the stigma and take advantage of prevention and treatment advances for an HIV-free environment.