When we began caring for people living with HIV/AIDS, we were told treatment wasn’t an option in impoverished communities and to focus on prevention instead—a mindset that essentially would have left millions of people worldwide without care, and a worldview we refused to accept.
In 1998, we launched the HIV Equity Initiative in Haiti—one of the first programs to provide free, comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment. We recruited and trained community members to serve as community health workers and to deliver medication to people living with HIV, accompanying them throughout treatment. Within months, the patients gained weight. Those on their deathbeds survived. And the program paved the way for groundbreaking research that ushered in a new, more equitable era of global HIV/AIDS care.
92% of people living with HIV are on antiretrovirals in Neno, Malawi.
More than 12,000 patients living with HIV receive care at PIH-supported facilities in Haiti.
99.9% monthly average rate of HIV patients returning for ongoing care in Sierra Leone.
Treatment and Support
Our work in HIV/AIDS reflects our core belief that strong health systems and universal access to care are vital in fighting disease.
In the decades since launching the HIV Equity Initiative, we’ve continued to partner with local communities in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We offer testing, treatment, and counseling at PIH-supported clinics. Our community health workers accompany patients as they navigate the health care system and follow their treatment plan.
Prevention of mother-to-child transmission is a key part of our global HIV/AIDS program. Packaged within prenatal care, we test expectant mothers to determine their HIV status. If a patient tests positive, we connect her with lifesaving antiretroviral therapy, helping her remain healthy and prevent the spread of the virus to her infant. We also run educational workshops and public health campaigns to raise awareness and further prevent the spread of HIV.
Our accompaniment of patients living with HIV extends beyond medical care, as social support is equally critical to treatment access and adherence. We provide this support through housing, food, transportation, and financial assistance, equipping people with the resources necessary to protect and maintain their health.
In all of our HIV/AIDS work, from Haiti to Peru, we closely partner with ministries of health and community organizations, strengthening health systems for the long term and laying the groundwork to end HIV.
Global Impact and Advocacy
Over the past 30 years, we’ve helped usher in a new era of HIV/AIDS care. Today, 25.4 million people are on antiretroviral therapy worldwide, thanks to collective efforts of health care workers, activists, global organizations, and community members.
Our work is part of that story. In 2019 alone, we provided more than 261,600 HIV tests globally through our support of public clinics and community health workers. That same year, we provided lifesaving, antiretroviral treatment to more than 35,900 men, women, and children living with HIV.
Through our global advocacy, we’ve helped increase funding, awareness, and visibility of HIV/AIDS. Our work has helped launch some of the greatest interventions in history, influencing organizations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the World Health Organization. We support the WHO and UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 goals, which call on countries and partners to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. And we advocate for an equity-based, human-centric approach to care that accounts for the unique needs of marginalized groups, including the LGBTQIA+ community, which has been historically excluded from HIV/AIDS care and continues to face systemic barriers.
We still have a long way to go before all 38 million people living with HIV worldwide have treatment. But the progress of the past three decades gives us hope and inspires us to keep pushing forward as we work to create a world free from HIV.
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