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HIV: the problem

The global epidemic is most keenly felt in the poorest countries of the world. Ninety per cent of new HIV infections happen in poor countries and more than 3,000 people die each day in sub-Saharan Africa as a result of HIV and related illnesses.   

Between 2001 and 2012, infection rates in sub-Saharan Africa fell by almost 40 per cent – from 2.6 million to 1.6 million.

However, an estimated 70 per cent of cases still occur in this region. Meanwhile, HIV infections have increased by 13 per cent in eastern Europe and central Asia since 2006, and in the Middle East and north Africa infection rates have risen by 50 per cent since 2001.

What we do

We are committed to ensuring that wherever we work on HIV, we help ensure our partners' responses include addressing other related health risks, in particular malaria, tuberculosis and maternal and child health.

For example, in Nigeria – where malaria is the leading cause of child deaths – our partners working on HIV are also distributing long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

The majority of our HIV partners are in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 1 in every 20 adults is living with HIV.

Two-thirds of our partners are already working on other poverty-related diseases, often in hard-to-reach communities with poor access to even basic health facilities.

Access to health services is a fundamental right, so we work with governments, faith leaders and the private sector to ensure they are provided adequately and appropriately.

Back in the UK and Ireland, we keep health issues high on the agenda of our supporters and donors through advocacy, campaigning, education and fundraising.


Our partners across Africa promote safe sexual practices and help people living with HIV get critical health services, as well as tackling stigma and discrimination around the virus.

Christian Aid supports the SAVE approach - originally developed by our African partner organisation, ANERELA+ - as a way of working more effectively to prevent HIV infection.


SAVE provides a holistic way of preventing HIV. It incorporates the principles of the ABC approach (Abstinence, Be faithful and Condom use), while also providing comprehensive information about other, non-sexual routes of HIV transmission and prevention.

In addition, it promotes support and care of those already infected and actively challenges HIV-related stigma and discrimination, and denial. Find out more about SAVE.

Using faith networks to tackle stigma

Working with interfaith networks and supporting religious leaders to come forward with their own HIV status has contributed significantly to reduction in HIV stigma, denial, discrimination, inaction and mis-action (SDDIM) work.

We are broadening this out beyond HIV to other health issues where social norms and values create barriers to use of health services, such as Family Planning. We believe faith leaders can have a huge impact.

‘Who is better placed than the church to take on this work? We are trusted by the population and we are scattered everywhere; especially in the villages. If we use the network of churches, the message passes very quickly.’ Bishop Martin Blaise Nyaboho, the Diocese of Makamba, Burundi

Find out how HIV-positive religious leaders in Burundi, from various faiths, are challenging ignorance around HIV and using their influence to encourage greater openness and understanding about the illness.

Find out more

We can't stop working on HIV until a cure materialises - Advocacy and networks officer Winnie Ssanyu Sseruma considers the differences in HIV awareness and the availability of antiretroviral drugs between the West and the global south.

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Linneth from Bolivia, living with HIV

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