AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, recently surpassed the mark of 200,000 clients receiving treatment and care for HIV/AIDS around the world, including in Cambodia, China, India, Nepal, and Vietnam
In addition to providing treatment and care to more than 34,000 clients in those countries, AHF is also initiating further expansion in the hard-hit sovereign state of Myanmar
In the six countries where AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has established or is establishing health services in Asia, more than 3.6 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS and reports from local non-government organizations (NGOs) in the countries. In the ten years AHF has been operating in the region, access to treatment and care has been – and will continue to be – drastically improved through nearly 50 healthcare sites supported by the global organization.
AHF’s Asian expansion began in 2003 in China, and was quickly followed in 2004 by the establishment of services in India. Expansive services were made accessible in Cambodia in 2005, followed by Vietnam in 2007 and Nepal in 2009. Currently, the Foundation is working with local partners in health to provide much-needed treatment and care services to hundreds of thousands in need in the populous sovereign state of Myanmar, also known as Burma.
“What we have accomplished in all of these countries is a momentous achievement, but access to treatment must be raised throughout Asia, particularly in Myanmar, where people are dying on ART waiting lists in hospitals,” said Dr. Chhim Sarath, Chief of AHF’s Asia-Pacific Bureau. “We will change the channel in Burma, where people have fought so hard for freedom only to face another deadly enemy – AIDS.”
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 story from our Asia Bureau: “Every 1 Counts: Krishna’s Story.”
“I feel comfortable and satisfied visiting the AHF clinic,” said Krishna Kumar, who has been an AHF India client since 2008. “I am grateful to be on ART from AHF as I am treated without any discrimination.”
AHF began its work in Vietnam in 2007, when the first clinic there was opened through collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Hai Phong AIDS Control Center, and the Thuy Nguyen District Hospital. A year later, new partnerships with the Vietnam Administration on HIV/AIDS Control and the Quang Ninh Provincial AIDS Center allowed for the opening of AHF Vietnam’s second clinic in the Quang Ninh Province. The Thuy Nguyen clinic had a significant impact on the life of one AHF client, Mrs. Gai. After her husband died from complications related to HIV, Mrs. Gai faced extreme fear for her future, particularly connected to her own health and severe stigmatization from the community after they discovered her husband had died from the virus, which led to her losing the small business she operated in the community markets. Once she discovered the AHF clinic in Thuy Nguyen, Mrs. Gai received treatment that drastically improved her health, and she also gained education on HIV/AIDS that has allowed her to become a peer educator who does community outreach in her province as well as follow-up with fellow AHF clients, sometimes even making in-home visits to provide support.
AHF established services in Cambodia in 2005 through close partnerships with the National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STD Control and the Preah Ket Mealea Hospital of the Royal Government of Cambodia. Today, the Foundation supports 25 sites throughout the country that serve more than 20,000 clients.
In addition to the 25 treatment and care facilities, AHF Cambodia also supports three voluntary, confidential counseling and testing sites in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Preah Sihanouk. AHF Cambodia also has made a habit of annually marking the country’s traditional Water Festival each November with free condom distribution and free HIV testing.
Of the 1.4 billion people living in China, .01% – which equals 780,000 people – of the population is living with HIV, and underreporting is suspected in the more rural parts of the country. AHF China’s programs at 10 sites throughout the country – half of which are brand new this year – provide medications and treatment for infectious diseases that the government does not provide. Currently, more than 7,000 people of all ages are receiving care through AHF in China.
As the second-most populated country in the world after China, India’s staggering number of people living with HIV – 2.4 million men, women, and children makes it the country with the third-highest number of people living with HIV after South Africa and Nigeria. In addition to supporting three clinics in the countries major cities, AHF India also operated a mobile testing unit in New Delhi and was the first care provider in the country to provide free ART to people who had become resistant to first-line drug therapies. Thanks to AHF India’s advocacy, the country’s government now provides the same such second-line treatment in all clinics.
Today, it is estimated that there are more than 200,000 people living with HIV in Myanmar, and through supported clinics in two hospitals – facilities that are currently witnessing the heartbreak of patients dying while on waitlists for treatment – AHF Myanmar aims to impact at least 1,000 patients in the immediate launch of the new country branch, all of whom are projected to receive ART.
Through coordination with the country’s Ministry of Health and the National Centre for AIDS and STD Control, AHF established services in Nepal in 2009 with the opening of the ART Center of Excellence at the Sukrarej Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku, Kathmandu. Five additional sites have opened since then, and today the six total clinics provide lifesaving ART to 2,494 adults and 145 children in Nepal.