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A major breakthrough for SCOPE:  This HIV-positive couple in Ethiopia gave birth to an HIV-negative baby because of our unique partnerships. Their Ethiopian Orthodox "soul father" (also pictured) had originally worked in a hospital in Debark to arrange funerals for people dying from AIDS. Since survival rates are improving through outreach efforts, he now works closely with medical providers and counsels HIV-positive people to take their medication.  Because of the trust that the local community places in their "soul fathers," they help reduce the stigma associated with HIV and increase the likelihood that patients will adhere to taking the drugs--the two biggest obstacles to eradicating AIDS in Ethiopia.


An estimated 34% of all young adult deaths in Ethiopia are attributed to HIV-AIDS.  Among urban youth, AIDS-related illnesses account for 66% of all deaths.

While we have made significant impact, there is much work to be done.  If 3 out of every 5 children in the U.S. never reached the age of 25, how urgent would it be to identify the root cause and explore every possible solution?  We've discovered that the trust that Ethiopians place in their "soul fathers" -- when aligned with the medical community to facilitate education and awareness -- is possibly the best opportunity for HIV-AIDS treatment and prevention.

We rely on your generosity and private donations, both large and small, to continue our programs.


  • New partnership with the University of Washington Global Woman and Children Program (WACh) aimed at educating pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Our goal is not just healthier babies, but healthier mothers who survive the disease and are able to watch their children grow up.
  • Continued HIV testing in the North Gondar diocese.
  • Training religious leaders in Gondar on HIV-AIDS prevention and control.
  • The exemplary research by our fellows at the University of Washington and our fellows in Ethiopia at the University of Gondar Public Health Program. 

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We sincerely appreciate your fully tax-deductible, charitable gift that supports our continued work to eradicate HIV-AIDS in Ethiopia.  Gifts to SCOPE are made through the University of Washington Foundation--100% of your gift goes directly to SCOPE.

How many college-educated women in the United States would go to their minister for medical care BEFORE seeing a doctor? 

Nearly all the women in Ethiopia would.  In a country with 84 million people, there are just 2000 doctors, but there are more than 500,000 priests in just the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  The local "soul father" is more than a priest or strictly religious figure--he is the central, trusted, and often revered, leader in the community.  The first person that millions of Ethiopians consult for guidance and information including medical advice, "soul fathers" are held in much higher esteem than medical doctors.

We recognized early in our work with the University of Washington Global Health Program that a non-traditional, partnership approach combining medicine and faith would have the greatest impact in combating the stigma and misperceptions that were the main barriers to testing, treatment, and care.

And we were right.
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