HIV and AIDS

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. While HIV and AIDS push more and more families into poverty, poverty makes them more vulnerable to infections. For Oxfam’s mission to overcome poverty and suffering to succeed, it is vital that this cycle is broken.

Over 33.2 million people worldwide are living with HIV and AIDS -- half of them are women. Nearly all live in developing countries and are unable to get the treatment and care they need.

Every day, over 68,000 persons are infected with HIV, with young people especially at risk. 420,000 children under the age of 15 years were infected with HIV in 2007 and half of all new infections occur among 15 to 24 year olds.

Young women are particularly vulnerable; they are twice more likely to be infected then men and are often left to care for others infected with the disease.

HIV AIDS and the Poverty Cycle

HIV and AIDS affects millions of women and men whose work drive's their communities and local economies.  While HIV and AIDS push more and more families into poverty, poverty makes them more vulnerable to infection:

  • When healthy food is unavailable or out of reach, people are more likely to fall sick,
  • Children are unable to attend school if they are needed at home to care for loved ones
  • Women may resort to selling themselves for sex to provide for their family
  • Men travelling to find work can contribute to the spread of the disease

Oxfam's Approach

For Oxfam's mission to overcome poverty and suffering to succeed, it is vital that the cycle of cause and effect that link HIV and AIDS and poverty is broken. This is why tackling the pandemic and its effects is a high priority for Oxfam.

As the pandemic grows and changes, we need to keep checking that our approach is the right one. We are always learning from our own experiences and from those of others to ensure our responses are appropriate and timely. In order to do this, we have established a Global Centre of Learning for HIV and AIDS, based in Pretoria, in South Africa, at the epicentre of the world's most severely hit region. The Global Centre of Learning is also leading on developing Oxfam's HIV and AIDS program.