KAMPALA, Uganda--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Despite declines in new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most heavily affected region, according to UNAIDS. In 2011, an estimated 23.5 million people living with HIV were in Sub-Saharan Africa, representing 69% of the total number of people living with HIV worldwide.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) joined with local partners and opened the Ithembalabantu - “People’s Hope” – healthcare center in Durban, South Africa in 2002 - its first healthcare center outside of the United States – which has been the model for the organization’s global healthcare operations ever since.
Now providing treatment or care to more than 90,000 clients in Africa, AHF operates and supports healthcare centers in: South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Swaziland, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Treatment services are in development in Liberia and Lesotho and will be open soon.
“Despite the challenges, the AHF Africa Bureau is making great strides in combatting the epidemic in this hard-hit region,” said Dr. Penninah Iutung Amor, Chief of AHF’s Africa Bureau. “The over 90,000 lives saved represent hope and life restored to so many families. Our task is still big. Prevention, treatment and care need to be scaled up faster. But, we remain resolute in our mission to save as many lives as possible.”
AHF is commemorating the milestone of reaching 200,000 clients worldwide with a campaign called “Every 1 Counts,” focusing on the patients who receive lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment through AHF Healthcare Centers. For patient testimonials, view the campaign video: “Every 1 Counts: 200,000 Patients in AHF Care Worldwide”. View a patient stories from our Africa Bureau: “Every 1 Counts: Martha’s Story” and “Every 1 Counts: Bale’s Story.”
“In other government facilities it takes long and you get condemned, but here at [AHF] Uganda Cares accessibility washes all those tears away," said Bale, a client who receives HIV care through AHF in Uganda.
South Africa is one of the countries most impacted by the HIV epidemic. A staggering 18% of people in South Africa are living with HIV. AHF provides anti-retroviral treatment (ART) or care to 15,990 people living with HIV through healthcare centers in Umlazi, Middledrift, Mbashe and Mnquma.
In the eThekwini District of KwaZulu-Natal Province—where one of AHF’s healthcare centers is located in the Umlazi Township—41.6% of pregnant women attending antenatal care in eThekwini were HIV-positive. In Umlazi, the Foundation works in collaboration with the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Departments of Health, the Municipal council of eThekwini, other community-based organizations.
With 1.4 million people estimated to be living with HIV in Uganda the need to for access to anti-retroviral treatment is high in this landlocked country in East Africa. AHF’s Uganda Cares is one of the country’s largest providers of HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and support services. AHF is caring for more than 39,000 clients in 22 sites across the country, many in rural, hard-to-reach areas. The Uganda Cares site at St. Balikuddembe Marketplace, one of the largest public marketplaces in East Africa, treats nearly 4,000 alone. AHF’s program has been identified by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS as a best practice model for antiretroviral treatment.
AHF and the Ugandan Ministry of Health partnered to open the first Uganda Cares clinic in February 2002 in Masaka. Through this clinic, ART was provided outside Kampala, the capital city, for the first time. In January 2013, AHF opened its largest medical facility outside the U.S. in Lukaya, Uganda.
AHF Uganda Cares client Martha, who has been living with HIV since 2003, said being able to access treatment and care through AHF’s facilities changed her life by erasing the constant fear and sickness she was forced to endure prior to accessing medication. Uganda Cares client Bale agreed, “Uganda Cares and AHF have brought meaning to my life, has colored my future again. Other times it was black and white, now it has colors.”
Though free ART became available through PEPFAR and Global Fund support in 2004, people with low incomes and those in rural areas are often unable to access treatment due to high transport costs and the long distances they must travel to reach clinics. AHF, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ), and the Salvation Army, currently cares for nearly 14,000 patients through four healthcare centers in Chifundo, Chikankata, Choma and Monze.
It is estimated that 2.9% of people in Rwanda are HIV-positive. In January 2006, AHF partnered with the Global Fund, the National AIDS Control Commission and the Shyria, Kibagabaga and Kanombe Health Districts to roll out ART programs at two government sites. Today AHF works with two district governments treating 6,498 patients through six health centers in Kabuye, Kagugu, Kimironko, Kinyinya, Nyakigezi and Rwankeri. AHF’s program for preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission is particularly strong, including education, one-on-one counseling and preventative ART for mothers and exposed infants.
AHF partners with the Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO) to offer comprehensive HIV services to clients living below the global poverty line – both children and adults. We work together to keep parents healthy and children cared for. The WWO-AHF Family Health Center in Addis Ababa offers HIV testing, safer sex education and antiretroviral treatment to nearly 2,000 people, including approximately 600 pediatric patients.
In Kenya, about 7% of all adults (ages 15-49) are HIV-positive. While the epidemic affects every segment of the population, Kenya’s 2009 modes of transmission analysis found that new infections were most likely to occur between heterosexual partners in steady relationships. AHF provides care for more than 3,000 patients through 4 healthcare centers in Kithituni, Kongowea, Mikindani and Mtongwe. Partners include the Ministry of Health, the Municipal Council of Mombasa, the Salvation Army and many community partners.
Like neighboring South Africa, Swaziland has been severely impacted by the HIV epidemic. According to the most recent estimates, adult HIV prevalence in 2009 was around 26% – the highest in the world. Working with partners the Manzini Municpal Council, the Ministry of Health, Population Services International in conjunction with Family Life Association Swaziland and AMICAALL Swaziland, AHF established a healthcare center in Manzini, Swaziland’s second largest city in 2007, which now serves more than 8,300 patients.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and consequently, has one of the largest populations of people living with HIV in the world – second only to South Africa’s. An estimated 2.5 million children in Nigeria have been orphaned by AIDS. AHF provides care to nearly 2,000 patients through three sites in Abuja, Gbajimba and Isanlu.
Approximately 1.6% of the people in Sierra Leone are HIV positive. In 2009, less than 20% of those in need of ART were receiving it. AHF is providing care to patients through a Genner Wright healthcare center in Freetown.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider in the USA. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to over 200,000 individuals in 28 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @AIDSHealthcare