By Robert Bazell, NBC's chief science and health correspondent
There are so many organizations doing great work in Haiti -- and most certainly deserve financial help.
But I want to call attention to one I reported on this past week. I know it well and have been visiting there for decades. GHESKIO is a group of medical workers who have been carrying out heroic efforts to combat HIV/AIDS for some 27 years. As soon as the quake struck, the group immediately took on the task of providing food, water, shelter and medical care for thousands from the nearby slums.
If you can contribute, please go to http://www.gheskio.org/ to donate money. Please don't send anything else. They will use the money well.
When the organization began Haitians were suffering intense discrimination around the world because of AIDS. Under the Duvalier government in Haiti, it was literally a crime to mention AIDS. But these doctors carried on and, recently, they have been giving out life-saving HIV therapy to tens of thousands of Haitians. Amazingly, immediately after the earthquake they were able to resume giving medications to about 80 percent of those patients (probably close to the number who survived the quake), on top of all the other challenges they faced.
GHESKIO, by the way, is the acronym in Creole for the Haitian Group for the Study Of Kaposi's Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections. Because it had been illegal to say the word AIDS — or later HIV — the name stuck. The project works jointly with Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York and gets some fund for its AIDS efforts from the U.S. government. The Haitian doctors who run the organization could have long ago gotten good jobs in the U.S. or elsewhere But they stayed because they love their country. Now they need all the help they can get to help their neighbors survive.
The full list of charities active in Haiti can be found here.