What we do - in a nutshell
AIDS-Fondet works to end AIDS by 2030 which, in our projects and in our programme, translates to directing our efforts into health promotion, capacity building, and developing and supporting partner-driven advocacy initiatives that target people in positions of power and relevant local and national institutions in countries where we work.
We are guided by the principle ‘Nothing about us without us’. This means that we work in close collaboration with local partners – and place great emphasis on working with organisations that are founded by or include target groups at an organisational level.
Our work addresses stigma, marginalization, criminalization, inequality as well as deprivation of rights – factors that compound vulnerability to HIV for people at risk and fuel the AIDS epidemic.
Actions and interventions with local partners are always informed by the context and the people they aim to reach.
They are generally designed to do three things – to inform, to ensure full health coverage for all, and to change and remove laws, mindsets, and socio-economic barriers for the people we work with and for.
To put it in bullets, we work to:
- Inform, empower, and mobilise key populations with knowledge and information about HIV and AIDS and demand access to health services
- Ensure access to quality health services that are inclusive and stigma-free
- Break down legislative, cultural, social, religious, and other prohibitive structural barriers to effective prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – including criminalisation, discrimination, and stigmatisation.
What informs our work
HIV is a health problem as much as it is a challenge shaped by poverty and inequality – and as such it is also a general development problem.
HIV and AIDS are both causes and consequences of poverty. You can’t address HIV without addressing poverty.
HIV and AIDS impact human and institutional capacity which in turn affects economies, the labour force, formal and informal social safety nets, health systems, education, and food security from the national level right down to the household and individual level.
The relevance of AIDS-Fondet’s programme should therefore be seen in a larger development context – including other likeminded organisations working in that context.
The international work that AIDS-Fondet engages in has several sources of influence – one such influence on the current programme’s overarching philosophy is UNAIDS and its global 2021-2026 strategy ‘End inequalities. End AIDS.’
UNAIDS looks at the fight against AIDS through an inequality lens to identify the gaps that are preventing progress towards ending AIDS.
And those are the gaps that AIDS-Fondet and its partners work to bridge.
“The Global AIDS Strategy aims to reduce (…) inequalities that drive the AIDS epidemic and prioritize people who are not yet accessing life-saving HIV services.
The Strategy sets out evidence-based priority actions and bold targets to get every country and every community on-track to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.”
The Sustainable Development Agenda
Whereas UNAIDS’ strategy provides a solid framework, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are important guidelines as well as yardsticks for progress in our work towards ending the AIDS epidemic 2030.
AIDS-Fondet’s main guiding star is SDG 3, but as an organization involved in development work, we touch on several SDG’s in our programme related to poverty, violence against women and minorities, partnerships and many more.
The Sustainable Development Agenda has three core principles that cut across all 17 goals – and naturally they are also embedded in the design of our programme and reflected in all the work that we do:
- Human Rights-based Approach
- Leaving No One Behind
- Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development.
By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.
Where we work
The AIDS epidemic has affected different people at different times in different geographies. There are similarities between them all, but today, at the beginning of the 2020s, the face of the AIDS epidemic is largely one of poverty and inequality in the Global South – in Sub-Saharan Africa in particular.
Sub-Saharan Africa is where the final battle against HIV and AIDS will play out.
AIDS-Fondet focuses its activities in countries in East and Southern Africa that still have some of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world.
AIDS-Fondet works with programme partners in Malawi in Uganda in 2022 – and has engaged with partners in Ethiopia and Zambia on a shorter term project basis.
Who we work with
The work that we do through our programme, or projects we engage in, targets those that are most vulnerable to HIV – men who have sex with men, transgender women, and sex workers. These are all key affected populations – or just key populations (KPs).
Key populations and their sexual partners accounted for 70% of new infections globally in 2021 – and the risk of contracting HIV is >20x higher for people in this group.
In addition we pay particular attention to the plight of girls and young women who are extremely vulnerable to HIV in some parts of the world. Transactional sex and conservative gender views on a back drop of poverty paint a grim picture for girls and young women in many places in sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2022 a staggering 80% of new cases of HIV among adolescents and young people (15-24 years) were among adolescent girls and young women in this region – and 63% of all new cases of HIV (15-49 years) were women.
AIDS is still the leading cause of death for both women and men of reproductive age (15-49 years) in Sub-Saharan Africa – as it has been for decades.
And that needs to change.