HIV and AIDS Initiative

World AIDS Day is December 1

World AIDS Day is an international global health day to raise awareness about the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, express solidarity with people worldwide who are living with HIV, commemorate those who have died from AIDS, and celebrate the progress made in HIV prevention and treatment.

A girl in red kneels on one knee

Since its inception in 1988, World AIDS Day has become one of the most recognized, successful and effective awareness days in the world.

What is AIDS?

AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. AIDS is a result of HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus.

A person first gets HIV, and then later, usually years later, develops AIDS.

A CD4 cell is a type of white blood cell sometimes called a T cell. A person is diagnosed as having AIDS when his or her CD4 cell count drops below a certain level, around 300 cells per millimeters cubed (mm3). The normal range is between 500-1,600 CD4 cells per mm3.

Over time, a person with HIV will lose these cells through destruction by HIV. Then, with a weakened immune system, that person will be more vulnerable to other opportunistic infections. AIDS is the last stage of an HIV infection.

Without treatment, the opportunistic infections will eventually claim the life of a person infected with HIV. But treatment is available and it is called antiretroviral therapy.

37.9 Million
worldwide in 2018

1.7 Million
are living with HIV

from HIV-related illnesses in 2018

Sources:World Health Organization

What is Antiretroviral Therapy?

Antiviral drugs are used to treat viral infections. They do not kill the virus they are used against; instead they inhibit further development of the virus.

Retroviruses are a specific group of viruses that replicate by inserting a DNA copy of their genome into a host cell. HIV is a retrovirus.

Different antiretroviral drugs attack HIV at different stages of its life cycle. Combining anti-retroviral drugs into a treatment regimen to maximally suppress HIV and prevent the onset of AIDS is known as antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART also prevents the transmission of HIV.

Ending AIDS by 2030

To address the wide range of issues and challenges associated with eradicating all aspects of global poverty, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

"The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted with a promise to leave no one behind. Nowhere is this more important than in tackling AIDS."
— Ban Ki-moon, Eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations

The 2030 Agenda is the most comprehensive and ambitious anti-poverty plan the world has embarked upon. Its 17 goals have 169 success targets connected to them, and target three associated with goal three is to end AIDS by 2030.

Progress has been made toward ending AIDS and the HIV epidemic. The rate of new HIV infections has been declining in recent years but progress in reducing the newly infected has slowed. In fact, progress on all three of the public health targets addressed by the UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets appear to be stalled.

The 90-90-90 treatment targets aim to achieve the following by 2020:

  • Diagnose 90 percent of people living with HIV
  • Provide antiretroviral therapy to 90 percent of people diagnosed with HIV
  • Achieve viral suppression for 90 percent of people receiving antiretroviral therapy

According to Avert, "in 2017, three out of four people living with HIV (75 percent) knew their status . . . among people who knew their status, four out of five (79 percent) were accessing treatment . . . and among people accessing treatment, four out of five (81 percent) were virally suppressed.

two toddlers

Bringing HIV Treatment the Last Mile

For children and families living in extreme poverty, AIDS is especially devastating, and several factors, including the lack of prevention education, poor health facilities, the high cost of treatment, unstable governments and inadequate infrastructure, multiply the devastation. But the single most important factor to overcome is the difficulty of getting lifesaving antiretroviral drugs into the hands of the people who need them.

An African woman holding a baby stands outside of her mud home.

Antiretroviral drugs that travel 10,000 miles around the globe to the developing world often don’t make it the last mile, to travel beyond the clinic and into the slum, to travel down the dusty roads in the rural areas, and up the hills and down into the valleys to the out-of-the-way places.

With our AIDS Initiative, we bring HIV treatment and the global fight against HIV/AIDS beyond the clinic and into the homes of the children and families we serve.

Our health workers know our families personally, and visit those who are HIV-positive often, finding out what they need and how they are doing.

Our workers deliver care and support through the church, with the hope of Jesus Christ, to each family.

When a child needs to go to the hospital for care or testing for blood counts, we are there.

When a child needs additional nutritional support to stay strong, our workers are there.

When a distraught parent needs someone to talk to about a diagnosis of HIV, our workers are there. And your donation makes it all possible.

Without the support to get to the health center or hospital, all of the technology in the world is useless. The machines used to count white blood cells, the machines to look for suspicious masses and infections, the medicine to treat opportunistic infections, and the medicine to help keep those with AIDS alive are all useless without our church partner health workers getting the medication that last mile and serving as advocates, educators, comforters and confidants to our families.

How We Help Fight HIV/AIDS

Donations to our AIDS Initiative provide support to HIV-positive children, children living with AIDS, and children living with parents or siblings who are HIV-positive or have AIDS.

Your donation helps provide:

  • Treatment with antiretroviral therapy
  • Education to prevent the spread of HIV
  • Transportation to clinics for treatments
  • Nutritional support for children who are infected with HIV
  • Education and medication for the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV
  • Voluntary counseling and HIV testing
Health Care icon
Medical Care

Voluntary testing, transportation to clinics, medication and antiretroviral therapy

Book icon
Educational Support

Education on the prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission and voluntary counseling

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Nutritional Support

Healthy foods supplied to children infected with HIV

Give With Confidence

With Compassion, your donation is used wisely to help children around the world.

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Please call us at 800-336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT, to speak with a Compassion representative.