Two thirds of people in low and middle income countries who require treatment for HIV/AIDS are not receiving it. A third of those receiving ARVs discontinue their treatment after two years. In 2009 -- largely due to the global financial crisis -- resources available for HIV in low- and middle-income countries flat lined for the first time in the history of the AIDS epidemic.
Against this backdrop, CHAI uses innovative approaches to prevent transmission and scale-up the number of people who are tested and treated for HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. Explore our work in the sections that follow.
When CHAI was founded in 2002, only 200,000 people were receiving treatment for HIV/AIDS in low and middle income countries with medicines that cost over $10,000 per person per year. The issue of absorptive capacity was constantly raised as many questioned whether recipient countries could effectively utilize funds and afford to provide large scale treatment without encountering bottlenecks in their healthcare systems.
A decade later, more than six million people are receiving treatment and CHAI has helped reduce the cost of their medicines to around $100 to $200 per person per year in many countries. Countries have repeatedly proven that it is possible to rapidly scale up treatment services. Currently, CHAI is working with South Africa – the country with the largest number of HIV positive people in the world – to triple the number of people receiving ARVs within four year’s time.
In April 2005, President Clinton launched CHAI’s Global Pediatric Program simultaneously beginning in 12 countries to confront the terrible fact that almost no children with HIV/AIDS were on treatment in the developing world. In the beginning, we were virtually alone in tackling this problem. The conventional wisdom argued that it was too costly and too complex to diagnose, treat, and prevent HIV/AIDS in children. In just a few short years, CHAI shattered that myth as the percentage of children on AIDS treatment is now nearly equivalent to the percentage of adults.
Eliminating Mother to Child Transmission
In September 2008, CHAI launched a program to dramatically increase global efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in six countries. Building on our work to scale up HIV testing and treatment for children, CHAI’s PMTCT program takes a comprehensive approach to stopping new pediatric infections. We support mothers and babies “across the cascade,” meaning from pregnancy and delivery through breastfeeding and into long-term care for HIV-positive mothers and children. Unlike many PMTCT efforts that focus only on one part of the cascade, CHAI’s work is demonstrating that a comprehensive, integrated system of care will be critical to reaching the ultimate goal of eliminating new pediatric HIV infections.