The International Alliance for the Prevention of AIDS (IAPA) was founded in 2004 by Arizona college students Eric Hamm and Sanjay Sinha who were inspired by community focused health initiatives to combat the spread of HIV. In the summer of 2005, IAPA was a federally registered non-profit organization in the United States under section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code. In 2006, IAPA had setup a branch office in India was registered as a Charitable Trust in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
IAPA chose to base a branch office in Chennai for two reasons. First and foremost, according to the UNAIDS and the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), the southern region of the country shoulders the heaviest burden of HIV infections, with Tamil Nadu having high incidence and prevalence rates for HIV infection and AIDS. Second, Tamil Nadu is widely recognized as having the best health infrastructure in India with regard to HIV, with surveillance, testing, and targeting of high risk groups all serving as essential focal programs of NGO’s and government organizations. These conditions allowed IAPA to easily integrate into the HIV prevention and treatment network of Chennai, while focusing on groups that were previously not targeted, such as youth and university students.
IAPA branches in the US and in India are mission focused in preventing the global spread of HIV through education and volunteerism. IAPA provides four programs in the United States which focus on HIV education: HIV Prevention Education Outreach Program, Summer Internship Program, University Service Learning Program, and Health First. We provide 12 programs in India which focus on three areas: HIV Education, Nutrition and Support, and Testing and Treatment.
IAPA’s Influence in the US
Since its inception, IAPA has not only been an incredible humanitarian force in India, but has worked to train the future leaders in the US. Over 200 US college students have been trained by IAPA and have had the opportunity to take part in the Summer Volunteer Program. Many have been so impacted by what they saw, that they returned in subsequent years to pursue projects, and rekindle the wonder that they discovered in India.
Of the 200+ volunteers, more than a fourth have been accepted to medical schools across the nation, many others have gone on to pursue careers in public health, HIV domestic services, or continue international work. Former volunteers are have been given awards, including becoming Trumann scholars in international achievements. Even greater, several former volunteers have taken the idea that IAPA has modeled in India, and established wonderful AIDS service NGOs in Thailand, Peru, and in the US as well.
“The effect of IAPA is one of exponential magnitude. The power of one person, one student, in two countries, inspired to be more than what is expected; indeed to be greater than one thought possible.” said Sanjay Sinha, co-founder.