HAETC became directly aware of HIV in 2002, when a 35-year-old Chuukese man living in Guam returned to Chuuk. He reunited with his wife after several years trying to earn a living in Guam and resided on a very rural outer island.
Fortuitously, this was when the HAETC began training in the area. Dr. Yoster Yichiro (MO, DCHMS), and a nursing colleague, Eleanor Sos, RN of Chuuk, the Federated States of Micronesia, joined the long-term HIV training program.
When Eleanor noticed consecutive chronic illnesses that were resistant to treatment, she recalled her HAETC training, and requested that the individual consider an HIV test. That reactive test meant that HIV was no longer a theoretical issue for Chuuk.
Dr. Yichiro and Eleanor realized that they needed to be proactive; used their HAETC training, established a HIV/AIDS Community Planning Committee in Chuuk; and began creating clinical procedures with the support of the HAETC for HIV prevention and treatment in the public health clinic system.
This long-term relationship with the Chuuk clinical staff has served to prevent mother-to-child-transmission of HIV, prevent further transmission of HIV in the adult population, and created a cadre of progressive, public health professionals who are able to implement best practices HIV methodology in a resource challenged area thanks to the PAETC.