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Recognizing Progress, Committing to the Future on World AIDS Day

AIDS orphans throughout Sub Saharan Africa are a focus of the work of many Aid for Africa members

On  World AIDS Day, our attention turns again to Sub-Saharan Africa, which has only one-tenth of the world’s population, but two-thirds of the people in the world living with HIV and AIDS. In its 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, UNAIDS states that more than 22 million people in the region have HIV/AIDS.  The majority of new HIV infections continue to occur in Sub Saharan Africa — about 1.8 million people in 2009. Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 15 million Africans have died from AIDS. Compounding the high rates of disease are inadequate health care systems and a lack of financial resources. The effects are felt in every home, school, and workplace.

Despite these numbers, progress is being made. Between 2001 and 2009, HIV incidence fell by 25 percent in 22 countries in Sub Saharan Africa.  Part of the reason is the increase in prevention activities and increasing access to HIV and AIDS services. The UNAIDS report finds that access to drug treatments (antiretrovirals) is starting to lessen the toll of AIDS, but fewer than half of Africans who need treatment are receiving it.

Aid for Africa charities and their partners on the ground continue to confront the realities of HIV/AIDS every day. On World AIDS Day, we applaud the efforts of Aid for Africa members who fight the disease and bring dignity to those who are living with it.

Africa Development Corps operates four HIV voluntary counseling and testing centers in northern Uganda, and has reached over 300,000 youth ages 14-25 through an extensive education campaign. In Ethiopia and Kenya, Africa Children’s Haven finances programs for thousands of homeless children victimized by poverty, war, and HIV/AIDS. 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. mothers2mothers is helping some 150,000 women a month prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS throughout Africa. 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. RISE International provides educational support to leaders and teachers in Angola by teaching AIDS education and prevention through the It Takes Courage! Curriculum.

African Services Committee provides HIV testing, prevention, and AIDS support in Ethiopia

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 145,000 today.   AID Village Clinics helps educate, prevent, and treat the Maasai of western Kenya affected by HIV/AIDS.   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. Cabrini Ministries, a program of the Cabrini Mission Foundation, provides nutritional supplementation of fresh fruits and vegetables for approximately 1200+ HIV/AIDS patients, cares for the high rate of children orphaned by AIDS and provides home-based care for the sick and dying. The Ubuntu Education Fund serves over 40,000 children and their families, implementing HIV prevention strategies through educational programs, community outreach, and HIV testing. African Services Committee uses a mobile testing unit to bring HIV prevention education and free, confidential testing to Ethiopia’s rural communities in 4 regions and in three major cities.