Issues: HIV/AIDS and Other Diseases

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Thirty-five million people are currently living with HIV/AIDS. Worldwide, 2.3 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2012, down from 3.4 million in 2001.  Developing regions account for the highest rates of infection, with sub-Saharan Africa alone accounting for over 70 percent of new infections and nearly 25 million of the total number of people living with the virus worldwide. HIV/AIDS is killing farmers, teachers and health workers, and negatively affecting food production, life expectancies and infant mortality rates.

In addition to HIV/AIDS, malaria, malnutrition and other health conditions account for more than 11 million childhood deaths annually in developing countries.

But HIV/AIDS, malaria and other potentially fatal conditions are preventable. If empowered with accurate information, and freed from the social taboos, attitudes and behaviors that fuel these diseases, people have proven that they can protect themselves and their families.

The Hunger Project (THP) works to empower local volunteer leaders with information, training and materials to go out and educate their communities. In partnership with governments and other civil society organizations, we provide access to health care services, immunizations, antiretroviral treatments and more.

What We Do

  • HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Workshops. In response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa, in 2003 THP launched HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Workshops to empower grassroots people to transform the conditions that have perpetuated HIV/AIDS. To date, more than 1.1 million people have attended these workshops.
  • Access to HIV/AIDS testing and treatments. In addition to generating awareness about the root causes of HIV/AIDS infections, mobile voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services are offered in partner villages. Some of our epicenters in Malawi also partner with government to provide communities with access to antiretroviral treatments.
  • Microfinance Program for People Living with HIV/AIDS. In Malawi, a special Microfinance Program aims specifically at empowering often ostracized HIV-positive partners. While many NGOs do not provide loans to HIV-positive people out of fear that they will die before loans are repaid, THP acts differently. THP believes that all people have the right to access resources that can help them live better and more independent lives. With access to loans, people living with HIV/AIDS can, and do, improve their lives.
  • Anti-malarial bednets. Insecticide-treated bednets are distributed throughout THP communities, often in partnership with like-minded organizations. For example, THP-Malawi partners with UNICEF on the sale and distribution of low-cost, anti-malarial bednets within our community epicenters. In 2010, over 24,000 malaria preventing bed nets were distributed to our African partners.
  • Maternal and childhood health promotion. THP supports maternal and child health by empowering women to have a voice in decision-making and gain awareness about the importance of pre- and postnatal care. In 2010, over 14,000 women accessed antenatal care services at our epicenters in Africa, and nearly 14,500 children were vaccinated.
  • Female condom distribution. Women in Malawi are empowered to take control of their sexual and reproductive health with the distribution of female condoms at epicenter health centers.

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