In Featured, News by Ged Kenslea

Billboard campaign marking AHF’s 1.5 million lives in care rolls out this week in six U.S. cities starting in Los Angeles; media campaign will expand to some of the 44 other countries AHF operates in


Despite global impact of COVID-19, AHF was able to add 36 new clinics and 114K patients since February


LOS ANGELES (December 17, 2020) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization and which now operates in 45 countries, is privileged to announce that it has reached a remarkable new milestone in its history: as of December 1st—World AIDS Day—AHF now provides lifesaving HIV/AIDS medical care and services to 1.5 million individuals worldwide through its US, Europe, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia Bureaus.

AHF previously crossed the one million patient mark just two short years ago in October 2018. As remarkable: despite the devastating global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, AHF was able to add 36 new global treatment clinics and 114, 667 new patients since February 2020, just as the coronavirus was taking hold and wreaking havoc worldwide.

“It is a privilege to report to that AHF has now reached a truly heartwarming new milestone: AHF now has 1,500,000 lives in care across the globe,” said Michael Weinstein, AHF president. “When you consider that we started with one small, but mighty twenty-five bed facility known as Chris Brownlie Hospice during the early days of the AIDS epidemic back in 1989, or that we set what we thought was a lofty goal of reaching 100,000 lives in care—something which we accomplished in 2009—this is a momentous achievement. And one that AHF’s leadership and board of directors share with all our staff and AHF family, whether they work at a care site, an Out of the Closet thrift store, an AHF Pharmacy or in an administrative position. What makes this so gratifying is that we know that AHF’s potential to march those last miles to ending AIDS as an epidemic are within our reach and capability. Now, onward to two million lives in care!”

“Congratulations and thanks to all of the dedicated AHF staff, board members, volunteers, partners and our patients for contributing your best to help AHF reach this remarkable goal,” said William Arroyo, M.D., chair of AHF’s Board of Directors and  clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Keck USC School of Medicine. “This achievement is all the more remarkable, given the devastation the coronavirus wrought and how it also affected and slowed everyday life over the past 10 months. Yet AHF remained true to its core values, nimbly adapting and pivoting. We were even able to open or add 36 new global AIDS treatment sites and bring over 114,000 new patients into treatment since this past February when the pandemic was first gaining ground. On behalf of AHF’s Board of Directors, we thank and truly appreciate all of you who made this happen.”


“We started with just one-hundred patients on ART in Durban, South Africa at AHF’s first clinic outside of the U.S. Today, we have 1.5 million people in care. I think of the millions more orphans—and millions more orphans that have been prevented by keeping parents alive and healthy,” said Terri Ford, chief of global advocacy and policy for AHF. “But we still have so much more work to do. There are an estimated 12-15 million people still living with HIV/AIDS who are still not able to access life-saving treatment. So, as AHF marks and celebrates these 1.5 million lives in care, we maintain a real sense of urgency to fight for those others not yet in care to also help keep them alive.”


Global HIV/AIDS Statistics

According to the (U.S.) Department of Health and Human Services, “There were approximately 38 million people across the globe with HIV/AIDS in 2019. Of these, 36.2 million were adults and 1.8 million were children (<15 years old). Per UNAIDS, as of the end of 2019, 25.4 million people with HIV (67%) were believed to be accessing antiretroviral therapy (ART) globally. That means 12.6 million people are still waiting.” 


AHF’s Global Treatment Role

In November 2013, AHF kicked off ‘20X20,’ a collective global advocacy campaign to try to get 20 million people living with HIV or AIDS worldwide in care and on treatment by the year 2020. At the time, AHF committed to getting one million of those 20 million on treatment by 2020—a benchmark AHF reached in October 2018, two years prior to our 2020 goal.

Prior AHF Treatment Benchmarks


  • 1 million lives in care under AHF reached/celebrated on October 1, 2018
  • 500,000 lives in care under AHF reached/celebrated on November 13, 2015
  • 250,000 lives in care under AHF, reached/celebrated on November 27, 2013
  • 100,000 lives in care under AHF, reached/celebrated on April 15, 2009 …
  • …a time when AHF operated in just 21 countries with only 65 global treatment clinics total worldwide


AHF to Roll Out ‘1.5 Million Lives in Care’ Billboard Campaign in the U.S. and to Global Sites                      To mark its 1.5 million patient milestone, AHF is rolling out a new ‘1.5 Million Lives in Care’ billboard campaign in six U.S. cities with 21 billboards, starting in Los Angeles (then expanding to Atlanta, Dallas, South Florida and the Northeast). The campaign will also be shared with some global countries and sites. The artwork, created by Jason Farmer, Senior Director of AHF Marketing, features an image of white numbers and letters making up ‘1.5 MILLION’ on a backdrop of a crowd of thousands and thousands of people, giving the billboard a pointillist effect—one that underscores the concept of all the lives now under AHF’s care globally.

AHF’s Early History                                                                                                                                         AHF began operations in 1987 as the AIDS Hospice Foundation by a group of activists in response to the urgent need to provide hospice services to patients dying of AIDS on the streets of Los Angeles.  By July 1990, the organization had changed its name to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, as the need for ongoing medical care for HIV/AIDS patients grew.  When the advent of lifesaving antiretroviral medications ushered in a treatment revolution in 1996, AHF began supplying these medications to patients for free without guarantee of reimbursement and at great financial risk.  In 2002, at the invitation of local South African activists, AHF opened its first free HIV/AIDS clinic outside the U.S. in this hard-hit country.  In 2004, AHF declared its pledge to reach 100,000 people worldwide with its services, and by 2009, AHF reached that major milestone.

Today, in addition to its clinics and treatment centers, AHF also operates a chain of 60 AHF Pharmacy outlets in 14 states (and DC & Puerto Rico) and runs managed care and/or disease management programs for people with AIDS or HIV in California, Florida and Georgia under AHF’s Positive Healthcare umbrella. Through AHF’s Public Health Division, AHF operates one of the largest community-based free HIV testing programs in the U.S. (221,277 free tests in 2019). In addition, over 4.4 million free HIV tests were done globally by AHF in 2019 (4,463,357 tests).  AHF also operates 24 Wellness Centers in nine states and Washington, DC (and nine additional Wellness Centers in four other countries) and also operates two AHF Dental Clinics: one in South Florida, one in Southern California. The AHF Research Division now has 25-years of experience with antiretroviral (ARV) studies.


AHF’s Housing Programs

Recognizing the role that stable housing plays as a crucial determinant in people’s health and wellbeing, AHF kicked off its Healthy Housing Foundation (HHF) in late 2017 in Los Angeles to provide direct housing services. So far, AHF has purchased and refurbished eight former motels or single-room-occupancy (SRO) hotels in Southern California and repurposed them as housing for extremely-low-income or formerly homeless individuals and families. HHF expanded its footprint to South Florida, where we are underway with the plans, design and permitting of for the construction of new, truly ‘affordable’ housing. AHF also launched Housing Is A Human Right (HHR), the housing advocacy division of AHF to support its work for housing justice across the U.S.

AHF Countries:


THE AMERICAS—13 countries, including: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica,  Mexico, Panama and Peru (as well as the United States).


AFRICA—13 countries, including: Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Eswatini, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


ASIA—10 countries, including: Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.


EUROPE—9 countries, including: Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.


In addition, AHF operates 68 free HIV/AIDS healthcare centers in 15 states and the District of Columbia and the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico. AHF states include California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas and Washington state.

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