Overview: HIV/AIDS

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Sub-Saharan Africa, the area hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic worldwide, is home to nearly 25 million people living with HIV/AIDS.

9 out of 10 of all children living with HIV/AIDS in the world are found in sub-Saharan Africa. The negative impact of HIV/AIDS is evident as it affects every sphere of life. As parents and workers succumb to HIV-related diseases, the structures and division of labour in households and communities are disrupted and daily lives are affected, with women bearing much of the brunt.

There has been unprecedented political and financial commitment globally and in the Region towards the HIV response. This has led to scaling up of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care interventions in all countries. In 2013 alone, 1.5 million additional people living with HIV were put on antiretroviral therapy, bringing the total number of people receiving treatment to more than 9 million. As a result of the increase in access to HIV treatment, the number of people who die from AIDS-related causes has reduced.

To consolidate these gains, the Region is intensifying HIV response efforts by mobilizing domestic resources, optimizing the synergies between HIV and other health programmes and contributing to health system strengthening.

HIV/AIDS Programme

The HIV/AIDS Programme supports Member States to develop policies and programmes and build the capacity for the delivery of the health sector response to HIV/AIDS. This includes rapidly scaling-up access to treatment and care and accelerating prevention while strengthening health systems, in the context of universal access.

The programme carries out the following:

  • Provides normative guidance and generic tools to member states for intensifying HIV/AIDS prevention and control efforts towards attainment of global, regional and national goals and targets.
  • Provides technical support to member states for accelerating and scaling up implementation of prevention, care, and treatment interventions for HIV/AIDS; especially HIV testing and counseling, prevention of mother to child transmission, STI prevention and control, blood safety, male circumcision, and antiretroviral therapy.
  • Supports countries in accessing and managing additional resources (including antiretroviral medicines and other commodities) from global, regional and national partnerships for the fight against HIV/AIDS.
  • Provides technical support to member states for strengthening procurement & supply management systems and laboratory services and networks.
  • Supports member states to strengthen surveillance, monitoring and evaluation systems for HIV/AIDS prevention and control.
  • Strengthens capacity for the conduct of operational research for evidence-based decision making.