January 17, 2003

Orphanage reps visit HIV program

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Sifiso and Sibusisiwe Mlambo talk with Mary Braeuner, RN, research clinical specialist in Infectious Diseases, this week while touring the Vanderbilt HIV Program. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Sifiso and Sibusisiwe Mlambo from South Africa visited the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program this week to learn about the innovative research being conducted at the center. The couple are the daughter and son-in-law of Zodwa Mqadi, director of the Agape Childcare Center, an orphanage that houses victims of the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa.

In the summer of 2000, on a side trip while attending the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, Rev. Ed Sanders, Senior Servant of Nashville’s Metropolitan Interdenominational Church, met Mqadi. Sanders made a pledge at that time to do whatever he could to help the director buy land and build facilities to help the children either infected or affected by the devastation of HIV/AIDS.

Melva Black, coordinator of Metropolitan’s program that assists the Agape Childcare Center, escorted the couple throughout Medical Center North so that they would be able to go back to Durban with more information and encouraging news about the research being conducted at Vanderbilt on vaccine concepts to prevent HIV/AIDS.

The Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program recruits healthy, uninfected adults for preventive HIV vaccine studies that have promising data from prior laboratory research. The vaccines are made synthetically so there is absolutely no risk to volunteers of contracting HIV from the vaccines. For more information on HIV vaccine studies, call 322-HOPE, or visit their Web site, HIVvaccineresearch.com.

To support the children at the Agape Childcare Center, or find out more about the mission of Partners for Life, contact Black at 321-9791. Donations are tax deductible.