The Role of Untitled AIDS Primer (International) . In the crusade to control further worsening of the world AIDS epidemic, there is a need to create template "AIDS Primer" website(s) that integrate the most pertinent and reliable information about AIDS from the most reliable AIDS databases from all over the world, and then to adapt this template "AIDS Primer" so that it will cater to specific target groups of the AIDS epidemic in the different countries all over the world.

While some major AIDS internet sites attempt to provide "international coverage", no single website so far, has provided a comprehensive AIDS Primer internet site that specifically target and is sensitive to the unique concerns of the lay person in individual countries -- especially those living with HIV/AIDS or are the vulnerable targets of the disease. As written, for example, the UNAIDS site, was intended more for policy makers and those involved in AIDS education and outreach.

The major AIDS websites, like those of the CDC in the United States, UNAIDS/WHO, and those created by major institutions and organizations in the United States, Canada and Europe are translated either in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese and other major languages. The major limitation of these efforts is that they usually are just translations of the AIDS information of the site in question. As such, these AIDS database websites are not only very limited in scope, but usually also reflect mainly the perspective about AIDS as perceived in Western countries where the website was created.

Similarly, some of the major international websites, e.g., UNAIDS/WHO, CDC, include French, Spanish, Portuguese and/or other foreign language versions of their "Q&A" about HIV/AIDS so that they will be understood by peoples in other parts of the world However, the main participants of these "Q&A" sites are from Western countries. Thus, the topics explored or the answers to the questions may not reflect the experiences of or applicable to those living in less developed countries (LDCs). [To appreciate the significant subtlety regarding this issue, read, for example, the article and responses to: Condom gap in Africa: evidence from donor agencies and key informants.]

Local AIDS websites. To address the limitations of major international AIDS websites, discussed above, local AIDS websites have been initiated in many less developed countries (LDCs) that target specific group(s) in a country. Very often, however, the databases of many of these local AIDS websites are either scanty, not up-to-date in regard the "science of HIV and AIDS" , become outdated or at worst, eventually cease operation for insufficiency or lack of resources, manpower and funding.

The proposed Untitled AIDS Primer (International) attempts to reconcile the efforts of international AIDS websites and local initiatives, including those initiated by the official national government AIDS institutions, academic and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that target specific groups in individual countries. The strategy towards this goal is outlined below:

  • Create a Template Manual on AIDS
    This template " Untitled AIDS Primer " will be created in collaboration with an international consortium of the major AIDS databases sources, with sections for:
    • lay people
    • clinicians and health care providers
    • researchers and clinical investigators
    • policy makers
    This template " Untitled AIDS Primer " will be revised periodically (e.g., annually) and serve as a guide in the preparation of similar " Untitled AIDS Primer " websites tailored for specific targeted groups in each country. The latter websites will be developed by or in close collaboration with participating institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in other countries.

    The proposed closed collaboration between developers of international AIDS websites and local initiatives in individual countries will translate into significant savings in cost, resources and personnel devoted in providing AIDS information in other countries. Equally important, the collaboration ensures that local websites are stable, accurate and up-to-date. Most important of all, the active involvement of participating local institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) ensures that the AIDS information provided reflect and address the issues and concerns of the to targeted groups in individual countries.

  • Publish electronic, audio-visual and printed forms of the " Untitled AIDS Primer "
    • Prepare digital and audio-visual formats (CD, DVD, etc.)
    • Strike collaboration and create mirror internet sites in participating countries, to be managed by local educational institutions or NGOs
    • Establish local partners for systematic distribution of educational materials
    • Distribute (for free) printed and CD forms to key registered university libraries and schools in less developed countries (local publication if possible)
    • Sell copies, at subsidized cost, in less developed countries (LDCs), and at minimal cost in more developed countries (MDCs). [Note: The fee is token for LDCs, to cover the cost, but more to impart the idea that nothing is free.]

  • Miscellaneous
    • Annual supplement updates
    • Dynamic updates are also included in the electronic version
    • Sections are written by clinicians, researchers and health care providers
    • Translated into major languages (English, Spanish, French, Chinese -- International Project)
    • Translation into other languages (national projects)
    • Set up seminars and tutorials to train local health service providers

  • Roving classroom
    • Computer or television plus CD, DVD or other audio-visual formats
    • Trained local physician, health care providers and teachers will assist in presentation of the material in schools, public centers and participating houses of worship

  • Issues to Address
    • How can the electronic and internet versions be made accessible to different regions in LDCs?
    • How can the AIDS primer be adapted so that it will meet the "sensitivity" of each country?
    • What incentives can be given so that local expertise can be tapped to make translations without minimal cost?
    • Translation authorship?
    • Subsidy by the national government?
    • What grassroot campaigns can be initiated and local infrastructures that must be established to improve the dissemination of information about AIDS?
    • Recruit schools and universities
    • Churches and religious organizations
    • Physicians and health care providers
    • Local television and radio
    • Provide information about local resources participating in the project

  • Potential Sources of Funding
    • National Institutes of Health
    • US Agency for International Development
    • United Nations/World Health Organization
    • Major foundations
    • National governments
    • Pharmaceutical companies

    The above ambitious goals would require the collaboration of both international and local organizations. The worldwide databases and scientific literature on HIV and AIDS are just so vast that no single entity is likely to be able to provide a comprehensive AIDS database on its own. Clearly, there is a need for cooperation and integration of resources to emphasize the strengths of each individual, group or institution; both international and those existing in individual countries.

    As important, there is a need to codify and standardize major terms used as subject AIDS topics headings and the practices used to update information in major international AIDS databases. The latter goal requires close coordination of efforts by the major international instititions and organizations creating AIDS/HIV databases.