World AIDS Day

RAPIDS Project - Youth in Zambia
RAPIDS Project - Youth in Zambia

December 1, 2010

The recently released 2010 UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic has much good news on the global front: a 20% drop in new infections; a 20% drop in the number of AIDS-related deaths and a 25 % drop in the rate of infection among young people.

In Sub-Saharan Africa there also is good news: the four countries with the highest number of HIV-infected people-- Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe--reduced new infections by 25% and 37% of adults and children who were medically eligible for antiretroviral therapy (ART) received it, compared to only 2% seven years earlier. South Africa is one of four countries that has reached 80% coverage of ART for pregnant mothers to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Africare is contributing to these positive results through our PEPFAR-funded Injongo Yethu Project in South Africa, the Faith-based Network Projects in Zimbabwe and the Reaching HIV/AIDS Affected People with Integrated Development and Support Project in Zambia, where we also are working to combat gender-based violence.

But there is still much work to be done. AIDS is a global scourge, causing not only loss of life and family but also adverse impact on economic development. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Sub-Saharan Africa. More than 70% of the global population living with HIV/AIDS and 76% of HIV-positive women reside in Africa. There were almost 2.2 million new HIV infections in Africa in 2010, bringing the total number of infected individuals to 22.5 million. 90% of the more than 16 million children worldwide who have lost their parents to the epidemic live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

From left:  Ms. Jeannie Jones, WKYS; Dr. Darius Mans, Africare President, Mya Harrison, Grammy-Award winning artist and Mr. Mark Ortega, Giant Store Manager (from the Africare Health Jam in Washington, DC)
From left: Ms. Jeannie Jones, WKYS; Dr. Darius Mans, Africare President, Mya Harrison, Grammy-Award winning artist and Mr. Mark Ortega, Giant Store Manager (from the Africare Health Jam in Washington, DC)

Africare is addressing the orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) problem through its USAID-funded UDUGU Project in Tanzania, which builds on the success of previous USAID-funded OVC projects in Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, the block grant components of which were recently declared a best practice by USAID.

World AIDS Day is also relevant very close to Africare’s home. Washington, D.C. is currently facing an HIV/AIDS epidemic. The disparities here in access to care and gender inequality echo some of Sub-Saharan Africa’s. Earlier this fall Africare reached out to the DC community through its Health Jam in Southeast D.C. which assembled a host of health-oriented organizations, including African-American and African medical professionals, to serve clients in one of the most underserved parts of Washington D.C. The event was a tremendous success in providing free medical information, HIV/AIDS counseling and testing services, and chronic disease screening services to those most in need.

Both at home and abroad, Africare is at the forefront of preventing, mitigating and treating HIV/AIDS, working to ensure universal access and support human rights for the vulnerable living with HIV/AIDS.

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