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A career in HIV/AIDS programmes

Kareen Cox
Career writer

The United Nations Programe for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Jamaica is currently in search of a monitoring and evaluation advisor to lead the division of the same name in Jamaica.

The candidate is expected to have at least three to six years experience in the development, design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation systems or programme management with significant information management content.

According to Faith Hamer, director of policy, enabling environment and human rights with the National HIV/STI programme, a wide range of careers are available within HIV programmes.

With the the emergence of HIV/AIDS some 30 years ago, an unprecedented number of persons have been affected by this global epidemic. According to the latest statistics published by UNAIDS in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) in July 2008, approximately 25 million people have died from the disease since 1981, and millions more have lost family members and friends.

With approximately 33 million persons currently living with the disease world-wide, human resources are needed to meet United Nations millennium development goal that speaks to the halting and reversing of the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.

Many governments and international aid agencies such WHO and UNAIDS have placed their focus on fighting the negative effects of the disease and preventing its spread. This has resulted in numerous career paths being available to persons who are interested in working in this field.

One can be employed as an administrator, a policy developer, an advocate, a counsellor, lifestyle educator, administrator, fundraiser, programmes co-ordinator or communications officer, at a non-governmental organization or international donor agency.

For the position of monitoring and evaluation advisor, education required is a graduate degree in public health, business administration, public administration, social sciences, demography, development planning, statistics or other academic equivalent.

The applicant is expected to have high levels of technical knowledge with competencies including analytical thinking and problem solving as well as management of strategic information, plus facilitation and negotiation skills with a range of partners.

Communications Officer for Jamaica's National AIDS Committee in Kingston, Soroya Julian, states, "I started working in the HIV/AIDS field because it is a major epidemic affecting the Caribbean region today.

"Regionally, HIV/AIDS affects every age group, and if left unchecked, it has the potential to lower worker productivity, which has major implications for the region's economic development."

There are aso career opportunities for those with a knack for sales and/or marketing in pharmaceutical companies that distributes anti-retroviral drugs and other medications for HIV/AIDS patients.

Perhaps you have or are currently pursuing a science-based degree but you are unsure about the type of jobs available in your field. There is employment in the field of research and development of new AIDS drugs or vaccines.
Within local hospitals, as well, you can choose medical roles involving specialist care of the sick. One can work at hospices for patient care.

These are but a few of the types of jobs available to those interested in working in the HIV/AIDS field. For the position of UNAIDS monitoring and evaluation advisor, you should send your application to the United Nations Development programme, 1-3 Lady Musgrave Road , Kingston 5.

* Kareen Cox is the resources co-ordinator in the career development services department, HEART Trust/NTA. Email
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