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HIV/AIDS

The virus has killed more than 25 million people since 1981. MSF pioneered treatment in Africa, and were the first organisation to introduce antiretroviral drugs in a public health facility in Kenya, and have since treated millions of people around the world for the disease.  
 
HIV gradually weakens the body’s immune system, usually over a period of up to 10 years after infection. The virus was discovered in 1981. 
 
A person living with HIV is considered to have developed AIDS when their immune system is so weak it can no longer fight off certain opportunistic infections and diseases, such as pneumonia, meningitis and some cancers. 
 
One of the most common opportunistic infections among people living with HIV/AIDS is tuberculosis (TB). 
 
According to the World Health Organisation, there are more than 34 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, the majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa. 
 
One tenth of HIV/AIDS sufferers are children (3.4 million people) under the age of 15, with over 1,000 becoming infected every day. 
 
Without treatment, half of all infants with HIV will die before their second birthday. 
 
Diagnosing HIV/AIDS 

 
Despite the availability of affordable rapid tests for HIV, knowledge of HIV status remains low in sub-Saharan Africa where HIV prevalence is highest. 
 
An estimated 60 percent of people living with HIV are unaware of their status and in some settings this figure is far lower; a study in Kenya in 2009 for example found that only 16 percent of HIV-infected adults knew that they were infected. 
 
Treating HIV/AIDS 
 
There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, although treatments are much more successful than they used to be. A combination of drugs, known as anti-retrovirals (ARVs), help combat the virus and enable people to live longer, healthier lives without their immune system rapidly declining. 
 
MSF HIV/AIDS programmes offer HIV testing with pre- and post-test counseling, treatment and prevention of opportunistic infections, prevention of mother-to-child transmission and provision of ARVs for people in the late stages of the disease. 
 
Our programmes also generally include support to prevention, education and awareness activities to help people understand how to prevent the spread of the virus. 

 By the end of 2017, MSF had place 201,300 people on first line treatment, and 15,400 on second line treatment.
26/08/2020

Kenya: MSF raises alarm over risk of increased mortality during healthcare workers strike in Homa Bay

MSF urges both parties to reach minimum agreement to allow for immediate resumption of emergency and lifesaving services during the strike.

Ether, an advanced HIV patient in Malawi, with her medication in her hands
06/07/2020

MSF response to the release of UNAIDS 2020 Global AIDS Update Report

MSF joins UNAIDS in calling for countries to implement practices to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on HIV treatment services, including ways to provide people with HIV with multiple months of treatment at one time

Nutrition assistant Abubakar Sediq prepares a prescription for a woman after examining her in MSF’s new hospital in Al Kashafa refugee camp, in Sudan’s White Nile state.[Photo: MSF/Musab Sahnon]
04/02/2020

Four things you need to know about South Sudanese refugees in Sudan

In December 2019, MSF opened a new 85-bed hospital in White Nile state, Sudan, upgrading the existing services in order to strengthen the quality of healthcare provided to South Sudanese refugees and the local community. The hospital, in Al Kashafa refugee camp, provides primary and secondary healthcare for patients with complicated conditions, including severely malnourished children and people with chronic infectious diseases, such as HIV and tuberculosis (TB).

Al Kashafa Hospital 2020 [Photo: MSF/Musab Sahnon]
24/01/2020

New MSF hospital in White Nile state to strengthen the quality of healthcare provided to refugees and local community

Khartoum/Al Kashafa, 23 January 2020 – Today, Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) inaugurates a new hospital in Al Kashafa refugee camp, White Nile state, Sudan. The hospital will strengthen the quality of healthcare being provided to South Sudanese refugees and the local community.

2020 Medical Resolutions
09/01/2020

Five New Year’s resolutions for improving care in 2020

A new year is an excellent opportunity to see how we can further improve our work. Every MSF project is unique and is set within its own context, and will therefore have its own priorities of areas to improve. But there are also things we want to do better across all of our projects. Here are five examples of things we want to get better at in 2020.

Wishlist 2020
03/01/2020

Wishlist 2020

As we move out of our anniversary year, MSF’s Access Campaign team is looking forward eagerly to the work that lies ahead in 2020 to open up access to medicines.

We would like to share with you our vision of how we want to see things change for people we serve in our projects and other people in developing countries in the form of our annual ‘Wishlist’.

Please enjoy and share so we can continue to build our Access to Medicines community and together change the world!

Sex worker in the Kimbi project, South Kivu[Photo: Nathalie San Gil/MSF]
18/12/2019

Violence in the Fields

In the province of South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams treat survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Many are survivors of rape and multiple forms of violence often perpetrated at community level. The main challenges facing the team are encouraging survivors to come forward, breaking down stigma and information around essential services and care. To help address this, MSF has put in place a community-based strategy with trusted focal points within the community.

Kimbi project in South Kivu[Photo: Nathalie San Gil/MSF]
18/12/2019

DRC: HIV/AIDS in mining areas

In the South East of the South Kivu province, Democratic Republic of Congo, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) operates at the Misisi health centre. The mining area of Misisi is home to many miners, sex workers and people living with HIV/AIDS

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COVID-19 Coronavirus

Most of the world's countries have reported cases of coronavirus disease COVID-19 and MSF teams in over 70 countries are now racing to respond to the pandemic.  

Find out more  

HIV/AIDS

The virus has killed more than 25 million people since 1981. MSF pioneered treatment in Africa, and were the first organisation to introduce antiretroviral drugs in a public health facility in Kenya, and have since treated millions of people around the world for the disease.  
 
HIV gradually weakens the body’s immune system, usually over a period of up to 10 years after infection. The virus was discovered in 1981. 
 
A person living with HIV is considered to have developed AIDS when their immune system is so weak it can no longer fight off certain opportunistic infections and diseases, such as pneumonia, meningitis and some cancers. 
 
One of the most common opportunistic infections among people living with HIV/AIDS is tuberculosis (TB). 
 
According to the World Health Organisation, there are more than 34 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, the majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa. 
 
One tenth of HIV/AIDS sufferers are children (3.4 million people) under the age of 15, with over 1,000 becoming infected every day. 
 
Without treatment, half of all infants with HIV will die before their second birthday. 
 
Diagnosing HIV/AIDS 

 
Despite the availability of affordable rapid tests for HIV, knowledge of HIV status remains low in sub-Saharan Africa where HIV prevalence is highest. 
 
An estimated 60 percent of people living with HIV are unaware of their status and in some settings this figure is far lower; a study in Kenya in 2009 for example found that only 16 percent of HIV-infected adults knew that they were infected. 
 
Treating HIV/AIDS 
 
There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, although treatments are much more successful than they used to be. A combination of drugs, known as anti-retrovirals (ARVs), help combat the virus and enable people to live longer, healthier lives without their immune system rapidly declining. 
 
MSF HIV/AIDS programmes offer HIV testing with pre- and post-test counseling, treatment and prevention of opportunistic infections, prevention of mother-to-child transmission and provision of ARVs for people in the late stages of the disease. 
 
Our programmes also generally include support to prevention, education and awareness activities to help people understand how to prevent the spread of the virus. 

 By the end of 2017, MSF had place 201,300 people on first line treatment, and 15,400 on second line treatment.