Residents of a village in Central African Republic have no access to medical care due to recent violence. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has arrived there to provide medical care but is worried about levels of malaria, a potential nutrition crisis, and the lack of antiretrovirals for people living with HIV.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is proving two local health centers in Chiradzulu district, Malawi, with machines that test the blood of HIV patients. The machines will allow health workers to see how effective treatment has been and to make decisions based on those results. Up to now only large regional facilities could provide results like this.
A coup d'état in March in Central African Republic resulted in mass displacement; homes were burned and clinics looted. Some 11,000 HIV patients were cut off from antiretroviral treatment, leaving them at risk of developing resistance to medication, or worse, getting sick and dying. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has resumed medical activities and is trying to get as many people back on treatment as possible.
In Malawi, where Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is now treating 36,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, teams are taking part in an ambitious survey designed to measure the incidence of the disease, seeking to learn if HIV/AIDS is still spreading as rapidly as it was, or if transmission rates have decreased.
On April 1, 2013, a landmark ruling by India's Supreme Court ensured continued access to affordable HIV medication for the millions affected by this disease, including the 220,000 patients that Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) treats with generic HIV/AIDS medication. This access has been under threat for the past seven years by pharmaceutical company Novartis, which challenged a section of India's Patents Act that prevented the practice of "evergreening," or extending the patent of an existing medicine by modifying it slightly. By extending patents, pharmaceutical companies prevent the manufacture of generic drugs. The ruling by India's Supreme Court is a victory for those fighting for access to affordable medicine—at least, for the time being.
MSF joined thousands of protesters at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC, calling for governments and pharmaceutical companies to halt policies and practices that hamper access to medicines.
Stories include: MSF teams treating wounded people in Misrata, Libya; the need for mental healthcare to survivors of Japan's tsunami; the new treatment target set by the United Nations to reach 15 million people living with HIV by 2015; and amendments to French law that suspend the ability of foreigners to get a temporary right of residence, which could create a public health risk.
MSF joined several other organizations on a march to the United Nations on June 8, ahead of the UN's global summit on HIV/AIDS policies, calling on world leaders to expand treatment and to provide the funding to stem new infections and save more lives.
Charles Sako lives and works in Kibera, a deprived area of Kenya's capital Nairobi. He, along with Catherine Atieno and Siama Musine, is HIV positive and receives treatment through MSF's clinic in Kibera. Six years ago, they were all given disposable cameras for a week to document their lives on HIV treatment. From those photos, we created a project called 'My Life with HIV'. Now, ahead of a UN Summit on HIV/AIDS this week in New York, we've been back to visit them and to hear how their lives have moved on. The latest scientific research shows that treating people with HIV/AIDS not only saves lives but also can prevent the virus from spreading. The full, busy and vibrant lives you'll see portrayed here are the living proof of the benefits HIV treatment has brought to individuals, their families and wider communities.