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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.
Aida talks with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) outreach workers about the use of contraception. | ©Morgana Wingard/NAMUH
02/07/2019

Mozambique: Peer educators support key and vulnerable populations to tackle HIV

At over 13 per cent, Mozambique has one of the world’s highest rates of HIV according to the last Ministry of Health survey .

Vials of Amphotericin B which is used to treat Cryptococcal Meningitis [© Albert Masias/MSF]
27/06/2019

Gilead Sciences fails on promise to expand access to lifesaving drug for people living with HIV

Inaction by US pharmaceutical corporation Gilead to follow through on its so-called ‘access initiative’ leaves people unable to access a vital drug to treat a deadly infection. 

15/06/2019

MSF teams responding to the Ebola outbreak in Western Uganda

MSF teams are supporting the Ministry of Health to respond to the outbreak in Uganda, in which three people from the same family have died

12/06/2019

HIV project in Eshowe, South Africa reaches 90-90-90 target one year ahead of 2020 deadline

In the study group, 90% of people with HIV know their status, 94% of those are on treatment and 95% have a suppressed viral load, which shows that whilst challenges remain, progress is possible! 

09/05/2019

MSF’s ‘Access Campaign’ marks 20 years of work

This year MSF marks the 20th anniversary of founding its ‘Access Campaign,’ which has been working to secure access to affordable medicines, diagnostics and vaccines, including promoting their research and development, for people in MSF’s care and beyond.

08/04/2019

Crisis update: MSF's response to Cyclone Idai

MSF emergency teams are responding to the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

29/03/2019

Malawi: “This time around, the destruction is more of houses and farm produce, not of people’s lives”

MSF logistician and community health worker Labana Steven is part of MSF’s emergency team working in Malawi’s Makhanga area to support thousands of people left affected by severe flooding with health and sanitation supplies.  His historical understanding and deep engagement with local partners and communities in southern Malawi are vital to MSF’s ongoing response.

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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.