In 2002, the year CHAI was founded, over 3 million people died in the developing world from HIV/AIDS and only 70,000 people outside of South America received treatment, despite the fact that treatment had been available and effective in the developed world since the mid-1990s. In 2002 and 2003, CHAI initiated the first programs in Africa and the Caribbean that aimed to scale up HIV/AIDS care and treatment throughout entire countries. Since that time, CHAI’s HIV work has expanded to include both global and national level efforts to increase access to lifesaving drugs and diagnostics, train health workers in appropriate care and treatment practices, establish strong supply chains, and prevent new infections, among other areas.
However, despite year-on-year declines in deaths and new infections, 1.5 million AIDS-related deaths are far too many, and with 2.1 million infections every year, the overall number of people living with HIV continues to grow. Like many others, though, CHAI is increasingly optimistic about the possibility of ending the AIDS epidemic. Scale-up of treatment for HIV, for example, is on pace to reach the ambitious target of 15 million patients by the end of 2015, with 13.6 million patients under treatment as of June 2014. This scale-up is partly behind the decline in new infections, including significant reductions in new pediatric infections as pregnant and breastfeeding women are given treatment to prevent transmission to their children. Substantial work remains to be done, however, in order to reach new and ambitious treatment targets for 2020 and 2030, and in order to eliminate new pediatric infections and sharply reduce new adult infections through interventions such as voluntary medical male circumcision.