HIV/AIDS Awareness (Herrera)

  • Aid in the fight against HIV/AIDS through victim support and awareness programs
  • Gain invaluable practical healthcare experience alongside local medical professionals
  • Live with a local family and enjoy the day-to-day life of a Panamanian
  • Immerse in the rich history, culture and abundant natural beauty of Panama in your downtime

Support efforts to stop the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus in Panama! Many regions in the country have been gravely affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Due to this deadly disease, many families have been plunged into poverty as they lose their sole breadwinners. A lack of education and resources has further helped in the spread of this disease. It is estimated that there are over 20,000 people in the country inflicted with the disease. The government and grassroots communities are actively supporting programs that are creating awareness halting the spread of the disease. With your help, these organizations can reach out to more people through awareness and prevention campaigns. Volunteer in Panama and be part of the team that contributes to the fight against the virus. At the same time, relax on the untouched beaches in your free time.

Volunteer's Responsibilities

As a volunteer working in the HIV/AIDS project in Panama, you will be providing care to patients infected with the diseases and also engage the community in educational and training activities. Depending on your skills, experience and interests, and also the needs of the local staff, your daily activities involve, but are not limited to:

  • Counseling infected patients
  • Help design presentation materials
  • Work with local teen group
  • Help organize ‘Teen Center’
  • Travel with organization to educate communities
  • Help organization give presentations
  • Help in daily activities at health clinic
  • Educating locals
  • Assisting clinics/hospitals
  • Increasing the personal risk perception through active participation in HIV/AIDS preventive education in the community
  • Assisting community HIV/AIDS organizations with outreach programs such as hospice care, recreational and educational programs
  • Treat small opportunistic diseases such as headaches, stomach aches, skin diseases or diarrhea
  • Assisting with voluntary HIV counseling and testing
  • Organizing and leading educational seminars and conferences about the virus
  • Providing friendship to patients
  • Take part in support groups for those who are infected
  • Assisting local organizations with administrative and organizational tasks
  • Fundraising
  • Promote human rights and discourage discrimination
  • Lead lessons on personal hygiene
  • Promote health education and nutrition

How You Can Make a Difference

New Hope works with a local organization that is dedicated to educating the Panamanian people on the HIV/AIDS virus. During the project, volunteers will be working side-by-side the local professionals to spread awareness and prevention knowledge to the community. Volunteers will help plan activities for children and teenagers and work in schools and the health centers. Volunteer in Panama, and be part of the campaign that stops the disease in its tracks. This is also the perfect opportunity for you to gain experience in the healthcare industry in Africa. You’ll also be able to learn about the medical system in a developing country, and gain better understanding on how healthcare is perceived.

Skills and Qualifications

There is no specific education, experience, skills and/or qualifications needed to join our fight against HIV/AIDS in a volunteer project, except that volunteers must be able to speak Spanish. Those who have little or no knowledge of Spanish are encouraged to enroll in our Spanish language course to make your stay more rewarding both for you and for the individuals you are helping. The Spanish classes start either in the morning or in the afternoon, and will not affect your volunteering time in the day.

Those with medical credentials will be able to help according to your certifications. If you are interested in the healthcare field, this is a good opportunity to gain professional experience. Volunteers are expected to be flexible and patient as well as passionate and have love for the poor and HIV-infected people of Panama. You will also need to dress conservative during the project - no shorts, sleeveless shirts, or short skirts, tattoos must be covered, piercings (other than earrings) removed. Volunteers will also need to be open-minded and will need to respect to local culture and customs.

Project Location

Chitre is home to our HIV Awareness project. Chitre is the capital of the Herrera province, located 4 hours from Panama City. Chitre is growing rapidly and provides endless opportunities for adventure and discovery. In your free time, you can head to one of the city’s close-by beaches or attend a cultural festival to watch traditional dancing. Chitre hosts lots of modern conveniences as well, such as movie theaters, Western-style restaurants, several internet cafes, as well as discotecas and salsa dancing for those who enjoy the night life.

Volunteers will fly into Tocumen International Airport in Panama City where they will be met by the local country coordinator. Volunteers are encouraged to arrive a day early to avoid extensive travel in one day. From Panama City, volunteers will take a bus with the country coordinator to Chitre, approximately 4 hours from Panama City. There is a pit-stop halfway to Chitre where travelers can use the bathroom and buy food.

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