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US supports Chimusoro HIV/ AIDS Awards for Zimbabwean leaders
US Embassy
December 02, 2010

The United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will host the 10th annual Auxillia Chimusoro Awards Ceremony in Zimbabwe. The Auxillia Chimusoro awards honor individuals or organizations that have excelled in their involvement in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe. The awards are given to individuals who have demonstrated substantial contributions in communication, leadership, social investment and any outstanding works that have made a remarkable impact in Zimbabwean society in mitigating the effects and impact of HIV and AIDS.

The awards are named after Auxillia Chimusoro, one of the first individuals to disclose their HIV positive status in Zimbabwe. In spite of the significant social stigma attached to HIV and AIDS at that time, Chimusoro publicly disclosed her HIV positive status in 1989 to promote greater awareness and to help change behaviors that increase the risk of infection. Auxillia founded Batanai HIV/AIDS Support Group in 1992 and was one of the founders of the Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS. She also worked with several support groups before her death in June 1998.

This year, a new award category has been added in honor of Lynde Francis, a tireless HIV/AIDS advocate who recently succumbed to the disease. The Lynde Francis award is given to a deserving individual or institution whose actions have made a remarkable impact on the course of the epidemic in Zimbabwe.

The first recipient of the Lynde Francis award is the late Dr. Monica Glenshaw, former District Medical Officer for Manicaland and Superintendent of Murambinda Hospital for 30 years. The winner of the Communication Award is Catherine Murombedzi, the first journalist in Zimbabwe to publicly reveal her positive status. Dr. Owen Mugurungi of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare won the Leadership award in recognition of his outstanding leadership within the national programme to fight HIV/AIDS. The winner of the Social Investment Award is Africaid, which runs the Zvandiri HIV Programme for adolescents.

Since 2000, the United States government has invested over $245 million in Zimbabwe's fight against HIV/AIDS. U.S. plans for HIV/AIDS assistance to Zimbabwe calls for an increase of $10 million in 2011, bringing the total annual U.S. investment in fighting HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe to around $57 million. Part of this plan for increased assistance is to raise U.S. support for anti-retroviral drugs from an amount sufficient for 60,000 Zimbabwean AIDS patients in 2010 to 80,000 next year.

"We share a common vision for Zimbabwe's tomorrow - a future where there are far fewer people contracting the HIV virus and where everyone in need has access to AIDS treatment. We congratulate all the Auxillia Chimusoro awardees for their outstanding contributions," said American Ambassador Charles Ray.

Karen Freeman, Director of USAID in Zimbabwe, added, "USAID is proud to have been a sponsor of the Chimusoro awards over the years. We know that, in the fight against HIV and AIDS, every individual and organization can make a difference. USAID is an active partner in this common struggle."

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