Aida lives in the Mascharinha neighborhood of Beira, Mozambique, with her five children. Aida turned to commercial sex work when she was 23 as she had no other way to support her family and send her children to school. She used to work six days a week, but now she’s not feeling as strong as she used to. It started with a fever. She went to the hospital to be tested. At first, her results were negative. Eventually she tested positive for HIV.
While significant advances have been made in HIV treatment over the last 30 years, worrying trends persist. In 2022, around 1.3 million people were newly infected with HIV – over one million more than the global target.
Sex workers like Aida, together with people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, transgender people and prisoners (collectively known as “key populations”), are disproportionately affected by and at greater risk of HIV. These groups, with their partners, account for the majority of new HIV infections globally. That is why MSF is turning its attention to preventing HIV in those most at risk alongside providing HIV care to vulnerable communities globally (for more information on MSF’s work on HIV, please visit https://www.msf.org/hiv-depth).
At MSF Access Campaign, we are supporting these efforts by advocating for greater access to long-acting antiretroviral (ARV) medicines for prevention and treatment. These ARVs achieve sustained release of a medicine over months, and therefore do not need to be administered on a daily basis. They can facilitate better adherence for people living with or at risk of HIV infection, and are key to meeting global targets for HIV prevention. Recently, our focus has been on long-acting cabotegravir (CAB-LA), the most effective means to prevent to HIV.
Along with key populations, people with advanced HIV disease and life-threatening opportunistic infections of HIV are also neglected in HIV efforts. We are also advocating for the diagnostic tests and medicines necessary for the management of these conditions.
How MSF is responding to HIV/AIDS
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What MSF staff are saying
"The big challenge we face at CHK hospital is that these patients often arrive at a very late stage. We fight to keep them alive but often we know very little about them. Their status is often hidden from their family members who bring them in.”"
Dr. Willy Tshimbombo, Medical team leader, Kinshasa, DRC