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Human Rights and HIV/AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa


“Rights here, right now,” the theme of the 18th International AIDS Conference kicking off in Vienna, Austria, today, champions the role of human rights in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  In Sub Saharan Africa, where more than 22 million people—including 12 million women and nearly 2 million children—live with HIV/AIDS, nowhere is the need greater for supporting human rights, particularly for women and children.  But global economic conditions are hampering AIDS treatment and the expansion of HIV prevention efforts around the world, particularly in Sub Saharan Africa.  More people die from AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa than anywhere else—72 percent of all deaths from AIDS in 2008. Let us hope that as the conference delegates share research, proposals, and plans this week, the poor and most vulnerable of Sub Saharan Africa will be in their sights.

Aid for Africa members confront the realities of HIV/AIDS everyday as they work with their African partners throughout Sub Saharan Africa. On World AIDS Day 2009, Aid for Africa highlighted some of the work of its members that are increasing access to services, providing effective treatment, and preserving human dignity. It seems appropriate to highlight this again with a few additions.

Health Alliance International works in partnership with ministries of health to build their health systems, including HIV/AIDS testing and treatment projects in Mozambique, where antiretroviral therapy has increased from just 4,000 in 2004 to 80,000 today.  African Solutions to African Problems supports community-based programs and women’s networks to help them better deliver life-affirming care for orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Partners in Health has proved that AIDS can be treated in a poverty setting through its effective model of community-based care now being used in Rwanda, Lesotho, and Malawi. African Child Care Association provides HIV/AIDS prevention training to teens in Cameroon.  mothers2mothers is helping some 50,000 women a month prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS throughout Africa.  AID Village Clinics helps educate, prevent, and treat the Maasai of western Kenya affected by HIV/AIDS.  Firelight Foundation supports and advocates for children orphaned or affected by HIV/AIDS. Children of Uganda cares for AIDS orphans and other disadvantaged children in Uganda with the goal of helping them become healthy and productive members of society. South Africa Partners creates partnerships between organizations in the United States and South Africa for HIV/AIDS support groups. Foundation for Hospices in Sub Saharan Africa supports African organizations that provide home-based hospice and palliative care to those who are dying of HIV/AIDS. World Hope International provides HIV/AIDS prevention and orphan care. African Services Committee provides HIV testing, prevention, and AIDS support in urban and rural Ethiopia.