Fundación Huésped is an Argentinean organisation that has been part of the fight against AIDS since 1989. The foundation sees AIDS as both a biological disease that is transmitted between people as well as an important social problem that requires an adequate community environment to support people living with the HIV virus. The foundation’s objectives are:
General strategies for prevention stem from the assumption that information and training are basic tools to combat AIDS.
- Holistic AIDS prevention;
- Social and epidemiological investigations in diverse populations;
- Training and technical assistance for community groups and organisations, and healthcare and education stakeholders who are involved with the issue;
- Broad prevention strategies directed at both the general population and vulnerable groups;
- Organisation of local networks and mobilisation of diverse stakeholders: healthcare stakeholders, the educational system, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community organisations, and groups of people who live with HIV.
- Multiplication of public prevention messages among peers, community participation, and local leadership development;and
- Advocacy for specific public policies through the coordination with municipal and provincial decision-makers.
The foundation develops printed materials and public campaigns (graphic, radio, and television materials) in order to make information about AIDS available to everyone in clear, simple, and effective ways. In May 2005, the foundation launched a new prevention campaign, "Yo también," (Me, too). In this campaign, people wear red, silicon bracelets to make their participation in the fight against AIDS public. "Yo también" provides a vehicle to openly support the fight against the epidemic, to show solidarity with people living with HIV/AIDS, and to propagate a message of social commitment capable of multiplying among the population.
Huésped views its strategy to get prevention messages into the mass media as key to stopping the spread of AIDS and reducing stigma and discrimination. Every year on December 1st, World AIDS Day, the foundation puts a television program on Channel 13 with time donated by the station, the actors, and others, to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. The programmes, which are available on the foundation website are Sútiles Diferencias (Subtle Differences), Revelaciones (Revelations), Oportunidades (Opportunities), Reparaciones (Reparations), Hoy Me Desperté (Today I Woke Up), Cortos que Animan (Motivating Shorts), and Preventoons (cartoons for primary school children on HIV/AIDS prevention).
Current campaigns include a blog called "Espacio Positivo" (Positive Space) and active sites on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Sonico, Taringa. The campaigns present many videos, spots, and presentations on YouTube.
Fundación Huésped: provides technical and methodological training for primary and middle school teachers; works with NGOs and community groups to raise awareness; trains managerial personnel at major corporations such as Burger King and Starbucks; coordinates internships at the university level, as well as a Masters level public health degree with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS; and provides virtual training yearly to infectious disease medical personnel to keep them abreast of the latest in HIV/AIDS research.
Fundación Huésped also provides free legal assistance and free psychological services, participates and runs clinical investigations, runs a bio-ethics committee that looks out for the respect of human beings during procedures, and operates a network of volunteers who serve HIV/AIDS patients with everything from accompaniment and conversation to orientation for family members.
The Huésped Foundation provides economic support for the Home "Los Querubines" which is located in the northern part of Greater Buenos Aires and houses at risk children and abandoned children living with the HIV virus or children who lost their parents to AIDS. The Foundation also annually finances 500 "cluster of differentiation 4" (CD4) and viral load studies (both studies related to immunie systems and HIV) for low-income patients at five Argentinean hospitals.
In many of its focused interventions, the foundation prioritises work in vulnerable communities with less education and who belong to the poorest and most excluded sectors of society. In 2000, the foundation launched the Braille Red Ribbon project that provides information on HIV/AIDS to blind and vision-impaired people in Braille and through talking books.
Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Fondo Mundial de Lucha contra el Sida, la Tuberculosis y la Malaria, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (ONUSIDA), among others.
Fundación Huésped webpage, November 8 2011.