HIV and AIDS
VSO works to support people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in 16 programmes across Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
Our objective is to improve the health of those affected and infected through strengthening prevention work and increasing the availability of treatment, care and support. At the same time people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS often face particular challenges in gaining an education, securing a livelihood or accessing basic legal rights (due to the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS) and VSO's programmes seek to address their needs in a holistic way.
In Africa, where HIV and AIDS are widespread and have a devastating impact on the lives of millions of people, our work supporting children has become a strong feature. By the end of 2007, 15 million children had been orphaned by HIV and AIDS worldwide (source: UNAIDS). Children as young as 10 years old are often left to care for younger siblings or must become the family's main income earner, missing out on the chance to go to school and learn skills that will help them build a successful and healthy future.
VSO offers these children support and therapy to address the impact of HIV and AIDS on their lives, and volunteers are working with agencies that run community schools (non-formal education) to ensure that children who do work or have to care for other members of their family are still able to get an education.
Regional AIDS Initiative of Southern Africa (RAISA)
We also operate the Regional AIDS Initiative of Southern Africa (RAISA), which is an initiative that works to tackle the impact of HIV and AIDS in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. As well as international volunteer placements, the programme includes:
Advocacy initiatives to encourage policy change on behalf of people living with HIV and AIDS, orphans and vulnerable children, home-based carers and key populations such as prisoners, men who have sex with men and sex workers.
Networking activity to build links between communities, national governments and regional bodies.
Small grants to support awareness-raising, income generation activities and the adoption of wider social protection measures.
Training events, international conferences and learning exchanges.
Support to national volunteering initiatives to ensure that unpaid home-based carers and community volunteers are recognised and suitably rewarded and supported for the essential work they carry out.
In Asia, where HIV and AIDS are not as widespread, VSO's work in health, education and secure livelihoods in several countries identifies those living with HIV and AIDS as particularly vulnerable to poverty, stigma and social exclusion. We work to increase public understanding about the stigma they face and how this affects their ability to access the information, education and healthcare advice they are entitled to.
Advocacy and campaigning
Inequality between women and men continues to fuel the HIV and AIDS pandemic and to increase the negative impacts on women and girls, and we have highlighted this in our AIDS Agenda international advocacy work. The work calls on governments to recognise that the burden of caring for people living with HIV and AIDS is predominantly being placed on women and girls. These carers are usually unpaid, untrained, unsupported and unrecognised.
A number of our programmes are also promoting the involvement of men in community and home-based care and strengthening public health systems to relieve some of the burden on voluntary carers.
- Report of the International Conference ‘HIV Care and Support: A Roadmap to Universal Access by 2015 (2090KB)
VSO's key positions on HIV and AIDS
- Social Protection Policies at the Service of HIV and AIDS (1734KB)
- Introduction (175KB)
- Principles (633KB)
- Language and imagery (152KB)
- VSO’s Position on Criminalisation of HIV Transmission (397KB)
- VSO’s Position on Male Circumcision (403KB)
- VSO's Position on home-based care (426KB)
- Gender Equality in HIV and AIDS Programming (3676KB)
- HIV and AIDS and gender (562KB)
- Caring for the carers (163KB)
- Strengthening public health systems (108KB)
- Greater involvement of people living with HIV and AIDS (93KB)
- HIV prevention (92KB)
- HIV counselling and testing (146KB)
- Care and support for children affected by HIV and AIDS (146KB)
- HIV and AIDS and young people (128KB)
Learning papers and guides
- A Handbook on Best Practices Regarding HIV and AIDS for People With Disabilities (3193KB)
- Capacity Building in Network Organisations (2530KB)
- HIV and AIDS Mainstreaming Guide (962KB)
Key policy reports/briefs
- Gender and HIV and AIDS briefing paper (UK Consortium on AIDS and International Development) (554KB)
- Gender, Power and HIV Prevention (488KB)
- Gendering AIDS: Women, Men, Empowerment, Mobilisation (278KB)
- Reducing the Burden of HIV and AIDS Care on Women and Girls (276KB)
- Walking the Talk – Putting women's rights at the heart of the HIV and AIDS response (1778KB)
- Walking the Talk (español) (2175KB)
- What Do We Really Mean By HIV Care and Support? (UK Consortium on AIDS and International Development) (415KB)
- VSO-RAISA Regional Conference 2011 - Social protection and HIV and AIDS (1632KB)
- VSO-RAISA Regional Conference 2010: Governance and HIV and AIDS – Policy Engagement and Political Commitment (2109KB)
- VSO-RAISA Regional Conference 2009: Gender and HIV and AIDS – A new agenda for change. (1823KB)
- VSO-RAISA Regional Conference 2008: HIV Prevention – Rising to the Challenge (2969KB)
- Increased Male Involvement in Home-based Care to Reduce the Burden of Care on Women and Girls in Southern Africa (937KB)
- VSO-RAISA Regional Conference 2007: Challenges of Care (2902KB)
- VSO-RAISA Regional Conference 2006: From Vulnerability to Sustainability: Food Security in a World of HIV and AIDS (3994KB)
- VSO-RAISA Regional Conference 2005: HIV Stigma and Discrimination (2848KB)
- VSO-RAISA Regional Conference 2004: Orphans and Vulnerable Children: Taking Action, Building Support (3577KB)
- VSO-RAISA Regional Conference 2003: Men, HIV and AIDS (2619KB)
- Capacity Building in Times of HIV and AIDS (1816KB)