A second chance at life! This is the way people infected with HIV/AIDS experience the blessings of antiretroviral treatment. However, this is only true for the people living in Northern countries, while the 6 million infected people in the South and the East are left out and continue to struggle with the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS.
Médecins Sans Frontières as well as other organisations have demonstrated with pilot projects that antiretroviral treatment can be used safely and effectively in settings where the health infrastructure is poor and resources are scarce. At the global scale, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched the 3 by 5 Initiative, a commitment to get three million people on antiretroviral therapy by the end of 2005.
Effective treatment and care goes beyond providing pills. Improving access to treatment needs to occur within approaches of comprehensive care, linking others efforts such as HIV prevention and psycho-social support. Responses should be situated within a continuum of care, and should actively involve people with HIV, their families and communities.
Improving access to treatment and care is a humanitarian imperative - and a great challenge for Swiss NGOs and institutions.
Objectives of the conference:
Understanding of the challenges of comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment and care in resource poor settings in the South and the East
Getting to know the 3 by 5 initiative by the WHO, the state of its implementation and the challenges for Swiss NGOs and institutions
Sharing of experiences and lessons learnt of Swiss NGOs in the implementation of HIV/AIDS related treatment and care in resource poor settings
Clarifying personal commitment for practical implementation
The conference was financially supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (BAG).