AIDS orphan Fanny Jeofry. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam
Somebody is infected with the HIV virus every eight seconds.


HIV and AIDS have a huge impact on poverty because they affect millions of adult women and men whose work drives their countries' economies and services, and who care for the young and the old.

Why is it called a pandemic?

The statistics are mind-boggling:

  • Somebody is infected with the HIV virus every eight seconds.
  • Some 2.7 million people across the globe became infected with HIV in 2008, with a heavy concentration among young people (240 000- 610 000)
  • Sub-Saharan Africa, which recorded 1.9 million new infections, still bears the brunt of the AIDS epidemic, with 33.4 million people living with HIV.
  • Of the 2 million global deaths due to AIDS-related illnesses occurred worldwide last year, the highest number recorded occurred in Africa.

Oxfam works with people around the world who are showing leadership on HIV and AIDS. People like Nhararai in Mozambique who is a home-based carer giving vital support to communities. People like Cazu, a Brazilian actor who has become an inspiring activist on HIV and AIDS since finding he was HIV positive.

Oxfam supports partner organizations in Africa and elsewhere working in the prevention of HIV and AIDS and caring for those who are ill.

We also support local groups to lobby for the rights of those infected and affected by the disease.

Demanding access to medicines

At an international level, we continue to challenge trade organizations, governments, drug companies, and others to make decisions that will help to improve the health of millions of poor people by providing access to affordable generic medicines.

Without well trained doctors and nurses, well equipped hospitals and clinics, and the right medicines HIV will continue to spread. Leadership is needed at the highest level to overcome this global crisis.

Oxfam's strategy to respond to HIV/AIDS is based on mainstreaming HIV concerns into all programs. This means that Oxfam analyzes the impact of the disease on the affected population, and adapts its development and humanitarian programs to address this impact.


Learn more

Oxfam's Health and Education For All Campaign

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