Projet San Francisco (PSF) has been conducting HIV/AIDS research as well as providing clinical care and counseling for HIV-infected persons in Rwanda for more than 25 years. Dr. Susan Allen established Projet San Francisco as a tax-exempt, registered non-governmental organization in Kigali in 1986.
Since 1986, PSF has worked closely with the Centre Hospitalier Kigali (CHK), the National HIV/AIDS Reference Laboratory, and the Ministry of Health’s Treatment and Research on AIDS Center to improve clinical care available for HIV-infected persons. PSF runs an on-site couples’ voluntary counseling and testing facility, medical clinic, laboratory and pharmacy. It employs more than 150 Rwandan medical and support staff and 2-4 expatriate interns and project coordinators. PSF has offered Couples Voluntary Counseling and Testing (CVCT) services to more than 17,000 Rwandan couples since 1988. PSF maintains three CVCT sites in different districts of Kigali, as well as a mobile unit which changes location monthly.
Each site has between five and ten full time counselors and a capacity to provide services to approximately 35 couples per day. The CHK and the Treatment and Research AIDS Center are across the street from PSF, and physicians from the CHK rotate every afternoon in the PSF outpatient clinic. This ensures continuity of care when hospitalization is required. In addition to providing clinical care since 1986 for 95 long-term survivors of the project’s original HIV+ cohort, PSF also provides HIV voluntary counseling and testing for couples. More than 17,000 couples have been tested, 8,000 people provided with screening for sexually transmitted infections, and 940 HIV discordant couples have received general outpatient care at the PSF clinic.
During the Rwanda genocide in April-July 1994, half of Kigali’s inhabitants were killed or fled the country leading to temporary suspension of PSF activities. In August 1994, the new government took control, survivors began to return and PSF research and clinical care activities resumed. During the genocide, Dr. Allen moved her family and staff to Lusaka, Zambia, and established a sister site, the Zambia-Emory HIV Research Project, based on the PSF model.
DID YOU KNOW...
• PSF has offered CVCT services to more than 17,000 Rwandan couples since 1988.
• RZHRG continues to follow a cohort of 85 long-term survivors, all women, in Kigali, Rwanda- many of whom first tested HIV positive in 1986.
• PSF maintains three CVCT sites in different districts of Kigali, as well as a mobile unit which changes location monthly.