Forum: HIV treatment for all - a realistic project
“When we first started the programme, there was little hope that people will recover…. But now, most of our clients have gone back to work”, says Thikane Mkabhela, Head Nurse at the Sigonbemi Red Cross Clinic in Swaziland proudly. Within a period of four years, the Swiss and Swaziland Red Cross Society succeeded in building up a comprehensive HIV and AIDS programme, including counselling and testing, antiretroviral (ARV) treatment and prevention of vertical HIV transmission.
Successful therapies have shown that if existing resources are invested in a good and wise manner a lot can be achieved especially in resource poor countries. This is not only true for a small country like Swaziland, but as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has demonstrated successful HIV-therapies in 32 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. A recent study by the Berne University even comes to the conclusion that ARV-treatment in slums of South Africa is as effective as it is in Switzerland.
What are the factors contributing to successful treatment of people living with HIV and AIDS in resource-limited settings in Africa, Asia and Latin America? What are the minimal medical requirements for ARV-therapies? What kind of support is needed to ensure life-long adherence to medication? How can the growing number of children living with HIV be treated? How do we deal with the reluctance of being tested for HIV, with stigma and taboo?
Today, 3 million HIV-positive people worldwide have access to lifesaving medication. But still, this is just a third of the people in need. What are the main challenges still to overcome in scaling up comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and care in order to realize universal access to HIV-treatment by 2010?
The forum organised by aidsfocus.ch in cooperation with the Swiss Red Cross takes up these burning issues and based on concrete evidence opens up the discussion on challenges, approaches and strategies regarding comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and care.
Invited to the forum are all partners of aidsfocus.ch, representatives of development and aid agencies dealing with issues of HIV and AIDS and poverty alleviation as well as all people interested in these issues.