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Actor Brad Pitt (center) is the center of attention during his recent visit to the Maddox Chivan Children's Center (MCCC) in Cambodia.
For the Children:
Goldfeld teams with Jolie to fight TB and AIDS
Investigator Anne Goldfeld, M.D., and actress Angelina Jolie are working together to improve the lives of people in Cambodia suffering from tuberculosis and AIDS. Recently, Goldfeld met with Jolie and actor Brad Pitt when they visited the Maddox Chivan Children's Center.
Goldfeld is co-founder of The Cambodian Health Committee, a non-profit organization that focuses on treating those suffering from tuberculosis and AIDS. Goldfeld provides comprehensive treatment to patients in Cambodia and has been a leader in integrating her fieldwork with basic scientific research on the immune response to TB and AIDS, which she carries out in her lab.
The CHC and its patients have helped Goldfeld answer several scientific questions about AIDS and TB. For instance, Goldfeld and colleagues discovered the first gene associated with susceptibility to TB.
In addition to its programs that get medicine to those in immediate need, the CHC also provides education, planning, and infrastructure to help stop the spread of AIDS and TB. The non-profit is leading an international effort to understand how to best treat TB and AIDS co-infection and is becoming a model for TB and AIDS treatment worldwide.
By chance, Angelina Jolie and Anne Goldfeld were seated next to each other on an hour-long plane ride to Phnom Penh two years ago. Goldfeld told Jolie about her work with TB and AIDS patients through the Cambodian Health Committee (CHC), and the urgent need to renovate one of the most needy hospital wards in the capital city, Phnom Penh, where the poorest and sickest AIDS patients lay dying.
Jolie made time to visit that ward, which the CHC has since renovated. During that visit Jolie and Goldfeld spoke about the massive unmet needs of children who were infected by AIDS and had no opportunity for lifesaving treatment. Fortuitously, a plan was made that resulted in the Maddox Chivan Children's Center (MCCC), which Jolie and Brad Pitt visited in November.
Story and photos of the visit were featured an issue of People Magazine. Goldfeld praised Jolie and Pitt for the warmth they exhibited to the sick children during their visit, as well as the enduring nature of their commitment to fighting TB and AIDS in Cambodia.
The MCCC is pioneering a multi-disciplinary model to provide care for children infected with HIV or affected by AIDS (those whose parents have died or have been ill). Approximately 200 children (toddlers to teenagers) attend the Center weekly. Nearly all of the children in the program have lost at least one parent to AIDS, and half of them are themselves HIV positive. At the Center children receive medical care, social and psychological support, and educational intervention, as well as good nutrition to help them regain lost ground resulting from illness, stigma, or the burden of caring for an ill parent.
In its short existence tremendous strides have been observed at the MCCC. Having received proper medical therapy, children who were at the brink of death from severe AIDS and TB infections now appear healthy and are playing and learning.
Three key facts about AIDS and Tuberculosis:
* TB infects one third of the world's population, taking a life every 15 seconds and causing a global economic toll of $12 billion per year.
* Of the estimated 30 million people who have died of AIDS, half (particularly in Africa and Asia) have died as a direct result of TB infection. This is because once the immune system is compromised by AIDS, the risk of developing TB is greatly enhanced. And in turn, TB accelerates the course of AIDS.
* TB is curable, even when someone has AIDS, with an antibiotic regimen of six to nine months in duration. AIDS is controllable with access to daily anti-viral cocktails.