HIV/AIDS in MadagascarThe number of people dying from AIDS in Madagascar increased by a staggering 480% from 2010 to 2021. Madagascar is an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa and is home to 28 million people. An estimated 70,000 people lived with HIV in Madagascar in 2022, 5,000 of whom were children under 14. Analysts warn that there is a lack of sufficient data on HIV in Madagascar and caution that actual rates of infection may be higher than estimates. Combating HIV/AIDS in Madagascar is a significant challenge, and organizations actively work to provide relief to those impacted.

Obstacles to HIV Testing and Treatment

The fight against HIV in Madagascar faces formidable challenges. As citizens contend with rising rates of HIV/AIDS, they also face extreme levels of poverty. Many people do not have access to clean water, shelter or education. The World Bank reports that 75% of people in Madagascar live below the national poverty line. Madagascar has an ineffective government and a weak economy. In 2008, a coup d’état heavily disrupted the country’s health programs and foreign aid. 

The provisional government proved unable to enact effective HIV prevention or treatment strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as natural disasters, heightened the number of people experiencing poverty in Madagascar. Most recently, the country suffered from drought from 2018 to 2022 and Cyclone Freddy in February 2023. These factors create a challenging backdrop to thwart HIV/AIDS.

In an audit from 2019 to 2021, The Global Fund cited the availability of HIV test kits as a challenge. Testing supplies are often out of stock, and without access, many citizens are unaware of their status. Additionally, maintaining suitable storage conditions for health products, like HIV medication, is difficult. There is limited access to HIV treatment, and less than 1% of health care sites in Madagascar provide antiretroviral treatment. Current policy dictates that citizens procure HIV treatment through the government, decreasing access.

Humanitarian Efforts Drive Improvements

Global humanitarian organizations continually search for ways to address challenges and combat HIV/AIDS in Madagascar. While there is significant room for improvement, aid organizations made notable contributions in recent years.

Since 2005, The Global Fund has provided $72 million in HIV/AIDS relief to Madagascar and supplied free antiretroviral therapy. The organization recently reported an increase in the number of people receiving HIV treatment. In 2018, 3,510 people received HIV treatment, while in 2021, 8,995 people received HIV treatment. The number of people with HIV who were aware of their status increased by 73% from 2018 to 2021. Additionally, The Global Fund confirmed a reliable pipeline from HIV testing to treatment for citizens of Madagascar. More than 95% of people who tested positive for HIV received treatment. In an investigation, The Global Fund found that antiretroviral treatments were in stock and available to citizens.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) also provides relief for the people of Madagascar. The organization gave more than $130 million in 2020, of which $74.5 million went to health services. USAID invests in the prevention of HIV/AIDS and primary health care in Madagascar, among other directives. In October 2023, USAID gave computer equipment to Madagascar to manage health information. This equipment will synthesize data to aid in the improvement of citizens’ health. 

Going Forward

Tackling HIV/AIDS in Madagascar presents significant difficulties. Providing effective HIV/AIDS testing and treatment is challenging due to widespread poverty and a weak government. Organizations are actively working through these challenges to improve the state of HIV/AIDS in the country. Investments in the prevention of HIV/AIDS and increases in the number of people who know their HIV status provide a starting point for further improvements.

– Kelly Carroll
Photo: Flickr

HIV/AIDS in CubaAccording to UNAIDS, in 2022, 42,000 people lived with HIV/AIDS in Cuba. Although the disease has claimed many lives since its discovery and initial cases, the threat has reduced significantly through Cuba’s handling of the pandemic. “Cuba’s national AIDS program is the most successful in the world based solely on statistics,” according to a research article by Sarah Z Hoffman published in 2004.

The First Cases

Cuba noted its first case of HIV/AIDS in 1985 — a heterosexual male returning from travel abroad. The country’s leading infectious disease specialist, Dr. Jorge Perez, spearheaded a drastic approach to contain the spread by destroying all foreign-sourced blood products while also commissioning a National AIDS foundation before the first reported death of AIDS in 1986. Cuba’s strategy continued to differ drastically from many countries, with many of its protection regulations already being sanctioned and declared lawful through existing health regulations. Decree-Law 54 for example, stated for the prevention of such diseases, individuals suspected of suffering from a communicable disease would be subject to immediate isolation and quarantine from the public and potentially infected individuals would need to suspend or limit their daily activities.

The Strategy

While many view Cuba’s approach to the pandemic as barbaric or controversial, Cuba’s stratagem has been the most effective in the world based on statistics. The United States caseload of HIV/AIDS infected persons was 10 times higher than Cuba, which had reported 1,177 back in 2003. In July 1983, the Ministry of Public Health in Cuba published an article stating that the Ministry itself would oversee the determination of which diseases pose a risk to the community as well as the adoption of diagnostic and preventative measures to contain the spread of the outbreak, reduce transmission and present options for mandated treatment.

From 1986 to 1994, the Cuban Government utilized these regulations to lawfully quarantine HIV-positive individuals in sanatoriums built and maintained by the Ministry. While these facilities were isolated from the general populace, the sanatoriums provided food, shelter, medication and education on the dangers of contraction and the importance of honesty, healthy behaviors and safe sex practices. The Cuban government rescinded this law in 1994 and relaxed mandated isolation protocols. However, the government required persons testing positive for HIV/AIDS to stay in a sanatorium for approximately eight weeks to receive thorough education on the disease. The government permitted people who completed their eight-week programs to leave and allocated a general care physician to help each person manage their conditions.


Every year, a total of 1.4 million mothers living with HIV become pregnant. While untreated, they risk a 15-45% chance of transmitting the infection to their infant during pregnancy, labor or breastfeeding. Since 201, the WHO (World Health Organization) has partnered with Cuba and other countries in the Americas to implement a region-wide system that will virtually eliminate mother-son transmission of HIV and syphilis. This effort is achieved through rigorous HIV testing for both pregnant women and their partners. Cuba’s nationwide health care access makes this easy for mothers who may test positive to receive treatment and education to continue their daily routines without fear or transmission.

According to PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne; “Cuba’s success demonstrates that universal access and universal health coverage are feasible and indeed the keys to success. Even against challenges as daunting as HIV.” In 2014, The WHO and supporting partners published an article titled “Guidance on global process and criteria for validation of elimination of Mother to Son transmission of HIV and Syphilis,” which outlined the requirements and the specificity of different indicators each country needed to meet to validate such elimination.

The Lesson

While many have critiqued Cuba’s HIV/AIDS management strategy, Cuba’s stratagem has been unlike any other implemented across the globe, with almost unprecedented results. As of today, only one sanatorium remains open. With quarantine and isolation laws no longer in place, the remaining sanatorium has become a hospital and a clinic for those who seek extensive HIV treatment by their own choice. With global health care, worldwide attention and universal access to everyone, the world can win the fight against HIV/AIDS. Everyone can be helped and everyone can be treated, regardless of financial means or societal status.

Anthony Durham
Photo: Flickr

The Gates Foundation
Bill Gates and his ex-wife Melinda French are two of the most prominent and generous philanthropists in the world. In 2000, they set up the Gates Foundation, an organization dedicated to alleviating a variety of social ailments, including global poverty and disease. Since its founding, the Foundation
has invested an unprecedented $79.2 billion towards this goal, with $39 billion of that coming from Bill and Melinda themselves. Today, the Foundation is one of the most powerful and influential nonprofits in the world. 

HIV/AIDS has ravaged vulnerable countries and societies since the 1980s, with the epidemic killing an estimated 40 million people since it was first discovered. Like many other nonprofits, the Gates Foundation has dedicated much of its research, volunteering and funding to tackling the epidemic. This ultimately helps the poorest and most vulnerable people across the world who are most at risk of becoming infected with HIV. 

Assisting the Global Fund

One of the main ways that the Gates Foundation is tackling HIV/AIDS is by supplying direct funding to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, an organization established by the United Nations in 2002 with the ultimate goal of removing those three diseases from the world. In fact, The Gates Foundation provided the seed money for the Fund when it was first established, making Gates and French crucial stakeholders in the organization. 

The Gates Foundation continues to make regular financial commitments to the Global Fund, particularly because of its work fighting HIV and AIDS. Over the course of 25 months between 2020 and 2022, the Foundation pledged more than $731 million for the Fund, with Gates himself calling the Fund “one of the most effective ways we invest our money every year.” Gates’ continuous support of the Global Fund allows the institution to continue its vital work, saving an estimated 100,000 lives a month through the provision of antiretroviral treatment and other forms of medication. 

By working in collaboration with The Global Fund, The Gates Foundation is an extremely significant instrument that is used to tackle HIV/AIDS, not just by funding the supply of medicinal supplies, but also through the financing of research on the diseases. By Gates’ own admission, treatment without prevention is entirely “unsustainable,” meaning that The Gates Foundation also uses The Global Fund to research microbicides and other preventative measures to stop the spread of HIV. 

Tackling the Stigma of HIV/AIDS 

In addition to providing financial support to The Global Fund, the Gates Foundation is also tackling HIV/AIDS by fighting the harsh stigma that surrounds the disease that prevents people from seeking and receiving the help that they so desperately need. 

Since the discovery of AIDS in 1981 and HIV in 1984, there has been a large, albeit reduced, fear of the disease and of its transmission. Thousands of people have died of AIDS as a result of this stigma in both developed and developing countries, which governments across the world largely ignored. The Gates Foundation has recently called for greater access to preventative HIV measures that reduce transmission rates dramatically, and has also called upon governments and NGOs to join them in breaking the stigma. 

The Gates Foundation acknowledges that researching and providing treatment for HIV/AIDS is a challenge in itself, with its difficulty being exacerbated by public opinion of the disease. Melinda French has publicly spoken out about the difficulty she faced trying to speak to sex workers who help fight HIV/AIDS during her travels around the world doing charity work on behalf of the Foundation, calling for greater advocacy to remove the stigma entirely. 

While there are an innumerable number of organizations, charities and government policies dedicated to tackling HIV/AIDS in 2023, the Gates Foundation’s resources, influence and longevity have made it one of the most effective institutions that prioritizes fighting the disease. Through a combination of funding vital research and allocation of medicine, and fighting the cruel stigma of the diseases, the Gates Foundation is making major contributions to tackling HIV/AIDS and has done so for many years.

– Tom Lowe
Photo: Flickr

HIV and AIDS in Sierra Leone
In Sierra Leone, the HIV and AIDS epidemic has been raging on since 1987, with the condition being characterized as “stable” according to the National Institute of Health. 

The low-income West African country has dealt with many issues over the years, including economic and political instability, public health scares such as the Ebola epidemic which lasted two years between 2014–2016 and civil war. 

Prevalence and Statistics 

A 2017 report “has estimated that since the beginning of the global HIV pandemic in 1981, 35.4 million acquired immunodeficiency syndromes” which means that many people living with HIV and AIDS in Sierra Leone have severe health problems that are linked to the condition. Furthering this is “a disproportionately high number of the global total deaths (70%) occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.” 

Why is HIV/AIDS So Prevalent in Sierra Leone?

Estimates have indicated that the large prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the country is due to social and economic factors, with the epidemic having “been fueled, in part by a severely under-resourced health care system, a decade-long civil war (1991–2000) and disruptions in HIV care due to the recent Ebola epidemic (2014–2016). In addition to this, treatment is also not accessible to most due to the extreme poverty much of the population faces, with there being an estimated 67,000 HIV infected people, with less than 30% receiving ART.”

ART, in particular, is a form of medication that helps treat those with the condition and lower the viral load in the bloodstream of HIV, which means it is unlikely that the infected person will spread the disease to others. Due to the large number of people not receiving treatment in the country, the worrying fact is that HIV will spread to others and create an even bigger epidemic of suffering in Sierra Leone. 

UNICEF: Tackling HIV and AIDS in Sierra Leone

However, despite the severity of HIV and AIDS in Sierra Leone being particularly worrying, the charity UNICEF is currently providing vital support for those suffering from the condition to ensure those affected get access to treatment.  

 A story that demonstrates this is that of a lady named Edith who learned she had HIV after she lost her husband, father and children.

Edith herself stated “When I was diagnosed as HIV positive, I was sad, angry, confused and unsure about what to do next. I did not have a lot of information about this condition and was afraid that being a widow with little resources, taking a lifelong medication would be too expensive.” However, due to the help and support of UNICEF, Edith no longer has to live in fear, as Edith goes on to state  “I receive my ARVs free of charge and this has helped me with treatment adherence and helping me to remain healthy and strong. Today I use the lessons and experiences I have had from taking ARVs to advise other people living with HIV on the importance of taking ARVs every day at the same time, even when the CD4 count gets high.” 

The treatment UNICEF has provided Edith with has also helped to prevent it from spreading to Edith’s new husband and the baby. This is because the use of ARVs contributes to reducing HIV-related morbidities and mortalities across Sierra Leone. 

 Overall, UNICEF serves as an example of what charities and governments can do to prevent the epidemic of HIV and AIDS from both spreading further afield and impacting the lives of those living in underdeveloped countries. Through providing access to treatment and testing facilities, people will no longer have to live in fear of the disease and the implications of it. 

Megan Rose Miley
Photo: Flickr

HIV in Chad
Chad is the fifth largest country in Africa. With a population of more than 18.5 million, Chad has approximately 210,000 people living with HIV. As of 2015, only 30% of people with HIV in Chad had access to antiretroviral treatment. Despite the limited access to HIV-related care, efforts are under way to increase the accessibility of treatment.

Poverty in Chad has exacerbated the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Many people in Chad lack access to housing, safe water, health care and sanitation. There is only about one medical doctor per 38,000 people in Chad. With basic care not well established and a lack of access to basic education, HIV/AIDS remains a leading cause of death among inhabitants. 

Organizations Stepping Up in the Fight Against HIV in Chad

Since beginning the fight against AIDS in 1987, UNICEF has identified three groups of people living with HIV in Chad that need the most support. These groups are mothers, children between the ages of 0 and 14 and youth and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 24. HIV can be transmitted from mother to baby through delivery and breastfeeding. Only 75% of pregnant women have access to antiretroviral treatment in Chad. It is critical for mothers to receive the care they need to avoid passing HIV on to their children.

UNICEF supports programs and policies that eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV. It also supports Vision 90-90-90 of UNAIDS, which promotes screening at least 90% of people in need of care, then treating 90% and ensuring that 90% of those treated do not have a detectable viral load. UNAIDS has been working to end HIV/AIDS on a global level since 1996.

Community-led HIV testing and prevention has proved to be an effective strategy in reaching groups of people who did not have access to care before. UNAIDS uses this method to reduce the amount of new HIV infections in children and to provide care and services to women in need. In areas where it works, it has reached its goal of having no new cases of HIV in children, and all patients who are children are receiving care.

UNAIDS is now focused on investing in communities, such as certain regions in Chad, to make a difference in the fight against HIV. It wants to focus on the people living with HIV in Chad rather than just the disease itself. It is important to provide people with resources and services to make the largest impact. Taking this “people-centered approach” has accelerated the movement to end HIV/AIDS in Central Africa.

Focusing on the Future

Both UNAIDS and UNICEF are committed to caring for people living with HIV in Chad and ending AIDS by the year 2030. Supporting policies and interventions with the ability to impact the people of Central Africa is critical. Strengthening the communities and continuing to serve and provide resources for people gives hope to ending the HIV epidemic in Chad.

– Jacey Carey
Photo: Flickr

HIV/AIDS in Mauritius
In 2018, UNAIDS carried out key research on HIV/AIDS in Mauritius. The research revealed important statistics on the key populations that are affected the most by the disease. The UNAIDS report found that 44.3% of HIV-positive individuals are injection drug users, 15% are female sex workers, 17.2% are men who participate in sexual intercourse with other men, 16.5% are prison inmates and 28% are transgender individuals. 

Another group that has been identified as a vulnerable group is young adults. From puberty to adulthood, young people become curious about drugs, alcohol and sexual experiences. In turn, this increases the risk of the individual getting infected by HIV. 

Protecting People With HIV/AIDS in Mauritius 

In the last decade, there has been great progress in protecting the human rights of individuals who have HIV/AIDS in Mauritius. The current protections in place for these individuals are as follows: 

  • The Civil Status Act now ensures that it is not illegal for a Mauritian citizen to marry someone who is from another country who is HIV positive. 
  • In 2006, the country established The Mauritius HIV and AIDS Act 2006 which does not criminalize the transmission of HIV. 
  • Mauritius introduced The Equal Opportunities Act 31 2008 which aims to reduce the discrimination people with HIV experience due to their positive status and/or sexual orientation. 
  • Lastly, the Mauritian government implemented The Employment Act 31 2008, which further protects individuals with HIV against discrimination and specifically focuses on the context of the workplace. The act prohibits harassment of any kind towards someone with HIV and fights against the stigma.

Recent Progress 

The most recent progress is in alignment with the wishes of the Joint United Nations Programme. By 2021, the Mauritian government aimed to meet the targets known as 90-90-90. This means that 90% of Mauritian citizens know their status, 90% of positive individuals are on cART treatment and 90% of the individuals following cART treatment are virally suppressed. Mauritius must call attention to various interventions to achieve these targets. 

  • Ninety percent to know their status: This requires the country to focus on improving testing facilities and reducing the social stigma that surrounds the disease and testing for it. The UNAIDS report noted that this target could be achieved by specifically facilitating testing services to the key populations identified above and, for more deprived areas of the country, by setting up a testing caravan. This would expand the testing of HIV/AIDS in Mauritius.
  • Ninety percent to be diagnosed to be on cART treatment: To ensure a large majority of individuals who have HIV/AIDS in Mauritius take the appropriate medication, educational intervention is necessary. Key steps recognized in the report were to educate people on the specific treatment and to reduce the stigma of it. In addition to this, the report recognized that an expansion of patient support would be required to ensure long-term adherence to the treatment, which would also help achieve the final target of 90% of individuals on treatment to be virally suppressed.
  • Ninety percent to be virally suppressed: Patient support is very important in achieving this target, both individual and community/group support. Ensuring adherence to HIV/AIDS medication means a reduction of the stigma that surrounds HIV/AIDS in Mauritius.

Looking Ahead

Improving the social stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in Mauritius is a significant component of reaching the 90-90-90 target. The most recent report on HIV/AIDS in Mauritius establishes how the Ministry of Social Integration has set criteria to ensure that Mauritian citizens who have HIV/AIDS have social protection available to them. With developments in education on HIV/AIDS, Mauritius is showing great promise and progress. 

– Poppy Harris
Photo: Unsplash

HIV/AIDS in South Korea
South Korea, renowned for its music, delicious foods, intriguing dramas and colorful culture, has consistently demonstrated resilience and adaptability. It has emerged as a global powerhouse, showcasing remarkable economic growth, technological advancements and captivating entertainment that has captured the hearts of people worldwide through K-waves. 

However, like any other nation, South Korea faces its own set of challenges, and one pressing issue that often remains insufficiently discussed is HIV/AIDS. While the Republic of Korea is often romanticized, it is crucial to shed light on this important public health concern and work towards fostering greater awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS in South Korea. Here are the five facts about HIV/AIDS in South Korea.

1. HIV/AIDS Prevalence

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains a significant public health concern in every nation. However, accurate statistics regarding the prevalence of the virus, including acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), are often unavailable in South Korea. The country lacks a standardized method for estimating the number of HIV-infected individuals, making it challenging to obtain precise data. Unlike cumulative figures, the South Korean government only discloses the number of new HIV infections, further complicating efforts to calculate the number of undiagnosed citizens. This lack of comprehensive data hinders effective public education and awareness campaigns about this crucial health issue.

2. Culture and High-Risk Groups

As the number of new HIV cases in South Korea persistently increases every year, new high-risk groups are emerging. While the traditional high-risk groups, such as men who have intercourse with men and injection drug users, account for the majority of HIV/AIDS cases, heterosexual transmission of HIV has now become a significant and dominant cause of new infections among women. This unique trend in South Korea highlights the potential for widespread contagion within the general population. As a result, it underscores the urgent need for comprehensive and targeted public health interventions to curb the spread of HIV and enhance awareness and prevention efforts.

3. Stigma and Discrimination

In South Korea, the intense stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS proves to be a major barrier for people to receive early diagnosis and treatment, leading to a higher probability that their HIV will progress to become AIDS. Additionally, many health care providers in South Korea have limited knowledge of HIV treatment and prevention techniques. Some health care facilities even refuse to care for patients with HIV/AIDS or subject them to unnecessary precautions, such as isolation. These challenges not only impede access to quality health care for affected individuals but also contribute to the perpetuation of misinformation and discrimination. Addressing these issues is crucial to ensure that all individuals living with HIV/AIDS receive the compassionate and appropriate care they deserve.

4. Government Initiatives

The South Korean government has made efforts to define risk groups and provide HIV testing within those groups, aiming to decrease the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the country. However, a significant shift in government policy occurred after the National Human Rights Commission of South Korea reported an alarming increase in the suicide rate among individuals living with HIV/AIDS. In response, anonymous testing centers were established specifically for homosexual individuals and migrant workers, addressing the reluctance to get tested stemming from social stigma. While this policy change has shown some positive impact, the HIV/AIDS issue in South Korea remains unstable due to the lack of a solid and agreed-upon method for tackling the epidemic effectively.

5. KNP+

The Korean Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (KNP+) is a Seoul-based organization established in 2011, with approximately 2,000 members. Its primary objective is to unite existing organizations and provide a collective voice for the HIV-positive community in South Korea. The organization was founded by a man known as Munsu, who had been living with HIV for 20 years. After years of fear and hiding due to the social stigma surrounding HIV, Munsu decided to share his personal story, inspiring the creation of KNP+. The organization’s mission is twofold: to influence policies that improve psychosocial support programs for people living with HIV/AIDS in South Korea and to combat stigma, encouraging individuals to seek the help they need without fear of discrimination. Through their advocacy and support, KNP+ aims to empower HIV-positive individuals, raise awareness and foster a more inclusive and understanding society.


The romanticized vision of South Korea held by many around the world overlooks the very real, pressing issue of HIV/AIDS in the country. Insufficient data and stigma surrounding the disease present significant barriers to tackling the epidemic effectively. The emergence of new high-risk groups and the impact of discrimination further complicate the situation. Nevertheless, the efforts of organizations like KNP+ and government initiatives aimed at testing and supporting vulnerable populations offer hope for progress. By fostering greater awareness, understanding and compassion, South Korea can strive towards a more inclusive and healthier society for all its citizens.

– Sandy Kang
Photo: Flickr

Diseases Impacting UgandaFor Uganda, a country in East Africa, health is a major concern. Uganda’s population of 47 million has always been heavily impacted by illness and disease, with communicable diseases accounting for over 50% of deaths in the country. Malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS are three of the top diseases impacting Uganda and are among the leading causes of death. 

Here is more information about these diseases, and what is being done about them.


Malaria is a life-threatening disease spread through mosquitoes that feed on humans, with symptoms such as high fevers and shaking chills. As one of the top diseases impacting Uganda, it is a risk to over 90% of the Ugandan population and is a leading cause of sickness and death, especially in children. Uganda has the highest malaria incidence rate worldwide, with 478 cases per 1,000 people per year, and malaria is estimated to have caused between 70,000 and 100,000 deaths per year, exceeding even the death rate of HIV.

In Uganda’s Ntungamo District, one of the districts most heavily affected by malaria, people have taken action to combat its spread. Village Health Teams (VHT) have been trained by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF to support Ugandan communities in fighting against diseases and assisting health care workers in providing health services. The teams also educate communities on malaria prevention methods, such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and prescribe Coartem, an anti-malarial medication that destroys the malaria parasites, to those affected by malaria. The efforts of the VHT have resulted in a remarkable decline in malaria cases — from 8,297 cases in December 2022 to 3,995 cases in March 2023. 


TB is an infectious disease that mainly affects the lungs. It is caused by a type of bacteria and is spread through the air when TB-infected people cough. TB is a leading cause of death worldwide, and Uganda is one of the countries with the highest burden of TB. Every day, around 30 people die of TB, and 240 people fall sick with TB in Uganda. Uganda is designated by the World Health Organization to be a TB and HIV high-burden country, with over 12,000 deaths to TB every year, and around half of those deaths are among those who are HIV-positive. Children under 15 account for an estimated 12% of TB cases, with young children vulnerable to developing a more severe version of TB. 

Since 2015, the Ugandan government has made significant progress in improving the coverage of TB preventive treatment that targets those living with HIV, made available at no cost for TB patients. Scaling up the coverage of preventive treatment has resulted in nearly 600,000 people living with HIV initiating this treatment from 2015 to 2019, and from 2016 to 2022, TB preventive treatment coverage for people living with HIV increased from 0.6% to 88.8%. Over the years, Uganda has successfully scaled up the provision of TB preventive treatment to those living with HIV, and the government has pledged to end TB by 2030 by continuing to accelerate the delivery of TB treatments.


Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV attacks the human immune system, leaving it vulnerable to infection and disease. Around 1.4 million people in Uganda live with HIV, among whom women are disproportionately affected. About 17,000 people die per year due to AIDS, 22% of whom are children under the age of 15. 

The nonprofit organization mothers2mothers (m2m) contributes to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and has virtually eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV among its clients. It supports mothers who live with HIV by helping pregnant women access antiretroviral treatment (ART). In 2021, m2m took in and improved the lives of over 150,000 new clients; among these clients, 100% of HIV-positive women have been given lifetime ART, and 100% of HIV-exposed infants have been treated with ART as protection from infection. m2m has also intervened to end child marriage in Uganda’s Kamuli District, protecting adolescent women who are more susceptible to getting infected and increasing access to HIV care. 

Looking Forward

The measures taken to combat some of the most deadly diseases impacting Uganda have led to a decrease in mortality rates over the years. With continued efforts from organizations like m2m and local communities, Uganda will continue to make strides in minimizing the impact of malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. 

– Stephanie Chan
Photo: Unsplash

Indigenous Ugandans
Uganda is an especially impoverished nation,
with 41% of the population living in poverty. Although the country receives aid and help from other countries, it is also home to many nonprofits that seek to provide additional help to the country’s citizens. Many of the county’s nonprofits are located in more urban areas of the country, such as Kampala. The Butakoola Village Association for Development (BUVAD) is one of the few nonprofits aiming to specifically help one of the country’s most struggling populations — Indigenous Ugandans. BUVAD is a volunteer-run and Indigenous-founded nonprofit started in 2000 that aims to help all Ugandans — and especially Indigenous Ugandans — improve their overall quality of life. One of the most unique parts about BUVAD as a nonprofit is its variety of approaches to achieving its goals. 

Women’s Economic Empowerment

One of the most unique groups that BUVAD is helping is female entrepreneurs. To do this, they started a microloan program for women with small businesses to receive money intended to go towards anything to help their business grow. Since the start of the program, 20 more women have joined and are currently receiving microloans for their businesses. Some businesses that BUVAD says these microloans have gone towards are mat-making, basket-weaving and beer-brewing businesses owned by women in Uganda. This program also creates a network for women receiving the loan, which has resulted in these women regularly holding meetings and helping each other with their businesses. 

These microloans have helped women business owners, which is especially important in Uganda. In Uganda, nearly 40% of all businesses are owned by women, but women entrepreneurs earn 30% less profit compared to male entrepreneurs. By continuing to support women-owned businesses, perhaps the stigma surrounding businesses owned by women in Uganda will become less severe and profits will begin to become equal between genders. 

HIV/AIDS Prevention and Support

BUVAD is helping lower Uganda’s HIV/AIDS infection rate as well. The nonprofit takes the approach of normalizing Ugandans to HIV/AIDS prevention methods by integrating the information into workshops about other topics. For example, in a workshop about bottle brick technology, BUVAD includes information about HIV/AIDS prevention, normalizing discussion about the disease in Uganda. This is especially needed in Uganda, with the HIV/AIDS infection rate in some areas of the country reaching as high as 8%, and the highest-infected areas also being the most impoverished. By normalizing discussion of HIV/AIDS and ways to prevent it, BUVAD hopes to reduce the disease’s infection rate in Uganda and get more of those who are infected on preventative medication. 

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Support

BUVAD’s most comprehensive program is one that focuses on water, sanitation and hygiene support for Ugandans, which the program aims to do by executing six main approaches to the issue. These are to promote regular handwashing, safeguard vulnerable communities against preventable water-spread diseases, improve water and toilet coverage levels, improve water sanitation and hygiene levels, improve awareness of government water programs and ensure the safety and consistent maintenance of safe water sources. 

Water safety is an especially prominent issue in Uganda, with more than 20 children being admitted to the hospital per week in Kayunga, a district in Uganda, due to water safety-related issues. BUVAD helps these children directly by creating 10,000-liter tanks out of recyclable plastic for primary schools in Kayunga to store safe water. Water safety in Uganda is considered a crisis, with 83% of the country’s population lacking access to clean water. By creating direct approaches to providing clean water like BUVAD is doing, the water safety crisis will slowly become less of an issue over time. 

BUVAD’s Multifaceted Work in Uganda

Although most nonprofits tend to approach one main issue out of fear of spreading resources thin, BUVAD has managed to address a multitude of issues effectively while still being able to consistently create new initiatives and approaches to issues. By continuing to do this, BUVAD will continue to help lift Ugandans out of poverty and help the country improve in both health and economy. 

– Aidan Johnstone
Photo: Flickr

HIV/AIDS in IndonesiaHIV/AIDS is an ongoing challenge in Indonesia. An estimated 540,000 people are living with HIV in the country. On average, there are 25,000-28,000 new HIV infection cases each year. The prevalence of HIV is increasing, with an estimated HIV prevalence of approximately 0.3% in the country. The age group most affected by HIV comprises individuals between 25 and 49 years old, while young people under the age of 19 make up approximately 5.8% of HIV cases. Alarmingly, only 64% of those living with HIV in Indonesia are aware of their positive status. 

Prevention Efforts and Treatment

Indonesia has implemented various strategies to prevent new infections, including education campaigns, condom distribution, harm reduction programs and targeted interventions for key affected populations. Specifically, an organization by the name of AHF Indonesia has been implementing HIV testing and treatment programs in Indonesia since 2016. It provides laboratory tests, free ART drugs and capacity building for hospital staff. Advocacy programs aim to revise community testing and early treatment strategies. Efforts focus on preventing HIV transmission through education, especially among key populations in urban areas. 

One of the most common methods of treatment is the ART drug. Consistency is vital in ensuring effectiveness. However, despite the importance of treatment adherence, it has been a significant challenge in Indonesia. Previous studies have highlighted numerous barriers and facilitators to adherence, such as stigma, discrimination and limited resources. This is why continued investments in prevention, early diagnosis and comprehensive treatment approaches are essential to reduce new infections and improve the quality of life for individuals living with HIV/AIDS in Indonesia.

Collaborative Efforts

The National AIDS Commission (KPA) and the Ministry of Health are key institutions responsible for developing and implementing policies related to prevention, treatment and care. These policies aim to address the challenges of the epidemic, promote awareness, reduce stigma and discrimination and ensure access to quality services. Additionally, collaboration between government agencies, civil society organizations and international partners is essential for effective policy implementation. The Indonesia HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Project (IHPCP) is a collaborative initiative working in partnership with the Government of Indonesia. IHPCP has played a pivotal role in the country’s response to HIV/AIDS, making significant contributions in various areas. 

One notable achievement has been its pioneering work in implementing Needle and Syringe Programs (NSP) to prevent the transmission of HIV among people who inject drugs. Additionally, IHPCP has been instrumental in promoting and supporting methadone programs, which have proven effective in harm reduction efforts. The project operates through collaboration with both the public health system and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), ensuring a comprehensive and multi-sectoral approach to HIV/AIDS prevention and care in Indonesia.

Looking Ahead

As the fight against HIV/AIDS in Indonesia continues, there are promising prospects for the future. Strengthening prevention efforts, enhancing access to treatment and care and reducing stigma and discrimination are key areas that demand attention. Intensifying education and awareness campaigns, implementing innovative prevention strategies and expanding targeted interventions for key populations can contribute to reducing new infections. By prioritizing these areas, Indonesia can forge a path toward a future where new infections are minimized, quality care is accessible to all, and the impact of HIV/AIDS is significantly reduced.

– Elizabeth Watters
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