HIV/AIDS – Giving priority to prevention

Although the HIV/AIDS epidemic has stabilised overall, in certain countries the rate of infection continues to grow. Homophobia, discriminatory laws and gender-based violence undermine efforts to improve access for people affected by HIV/AIDS to the services they need. The SDC works on prevention and reducing social stigma in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

The SDC's focus

Switzerland makes an active contribution to global efforts against HIV/AIDS by supporting international specialised agencies such as the WHO, UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and other international and regional organisations, associations and networks.

In its country-specific programmes, Switzerland focuses on prevention – particularly in connection with sexual and reproductive health programmes – and improving access to non-discriminatory treatment, care and support.

Non-health-related programmes also take this aspect into account in regions particularly affected by HIV/AIDS, such as the role of HIV-positive people and the impact the programme has on them and vice versa.

The SDC also supports different activities implemented by Swiss NGOs that are aimed at controlling HIV/AIDS at the international level, and assists them with networking and coordination in Switzerland.

In addition, the SDC works with the private sector and universities in this field.


Significant progress has been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS but considerable challenges remain. An estimated 37 million people in the world are living with HIV. In 2017, a tipping point was reached. For the first time, more than half of all people living with HIV received treatment, which has helped to lower the number of HIV-related deaths – by 35% between 2005 and 2014 alone. However, around 25% of all HIV-positive people are not even aware of their infection, which is why they do not seek treatment. Nonetheless, the number of new cases between 1996 and 2017 went down by 47% – although this figure has stagnated since then and another 1.7 million people became infected in 2017. The stigma and discrimination faced by HIV-positive people and population groups particularly affected by HIV/AIDS remains a huge challenge. It hinders effective prevention and access to treatment and HIV-related healthcare.

Switzerland made a significant contribution to the development of psychosocial support services for children and young people affected by HIV/AIDS in a number of southern African countries, which is helping to reduce discrimination and improve their prospects for the future.


Mainstreaming HIV in practice
A toolkit with a collection of resources, checklists and examples on CD Rom for SDC and its partners
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 93, 9.9 MB, English)

United Nation's Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS
United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, 25-27 June 2001
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 52, 684.8 kB)

[fr] (PDF, 684.8 kB)
[es] (PDF, Number of pages 53, 683.4 kB)

SDC HIV and AIDS Community of Practice
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 3, 801.0 kB, English)

Mainstreaming: A Response to HIV and AIDS in Humanitarian Assistance
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 3, 151.7 kB, English)

The Media in Education Trust Africa
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 3, 138.4 kB, English)

Parliamentarians for Global Action
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 3, 129.3 kB, English)

The Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 4, 331.5 kB, English)

Technical Assistance for the World Food Programme's HIV and AIDS Response
[en] (PDF, 315.5 kB, English)

SDC Support for SolidarMed's Antiretroviral Treatment Project (Smart)
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 3, 169.4 kB, English)

A focus on psychosocial support
Africa Brief - November 2010
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 8, 1.2 MB, English)

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 51

GFATM: The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – Core Contribution

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2016

The GFATM is an independent, non-profit foundation that was incorporated in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2002. Its purpose is to attract and disburse additional resources to more successfully prevent and treat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Being mainly a financial institution and not an implementing entity, it works through collaborations with country-based partners.

Topic Period Budget
Infectious desease
Sexually transmitted diseases incl. HIV/AIDS

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2016

CHF 60'000'000

UNAIDS: Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS – Core Contribution

01.01.2013 - 31.12.2015

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) aims to ensure an integrated and coherent approach to HIV/AIDS, to prevent the spread of HIV and to improve the life expectancy and quality of life of those affected by HIV/AIDS. In addition, UNAIDS sets policy at a global level and is one of the main sources of HIV-related data.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Sexually transmitted diseases incl. HIV/AIDS
Health systems strengthening
Reproductive health & rights

01.01.2013 - 31.12.2015

CHF 30'035'000

Enabling AIDS orphans to think of their future

01.05.2012 - 31.12.2015

The region of southern Africa holds the sad record of housing the largest number of orphans in the world. Together with armed conflicts and poverty, HIV/AIDS – which can wipe out entire generations –has a major impact on the living conditions and psychological and social wellbeing of children in this part of the world. Deprivation, abuse, early and forced marriages, having to take care of siblings or sick parents, are all part of daily life here. Since 2002, a regional initiative aimed at providing psycho-social support has been trying to provide these children with hope and self-confidence.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Sexually transmitted diseases incl. HIV/AIDS
Primary health care
Basic life skills

01.05.2012 - 31.12.2015

CHF 4'875'000

Contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GF)

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2022

Health is a precondition, an indicator and a result of sustainable development. The Global Fund (GF) follows the vision of a world free of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. It collects and channels a big share of the international funds dedicated to end these epidemics that disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable people. Its support to country programmes has saved 27 million lives since 2002. In the coming years, the challenge is to maintain this progress and step up the fight to ending the epidemics. 

Menstrual Health Management (MHM)

15.09.2019 - 31.12.2021

Despite being the majority, young people have the worst HIV outcomes. Evidence-based, demographic and context-adapted responses are essential if ending AIDS by 2030 is to be attained. Proposed is a population level study to determine the impact of a comprehensive community based package of HIV services with a nested sub-study on Menstrual Health Management (MHM). Even though it is often neglected, MHM is crucial for women’s social inclusion, health and gender equality

BACKUP Health: Technical support for Global Fund country partners

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

The Global Fund aims at ending AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria as epidemics. It works with country-based partners. The coordination mechanism through which these partners operate often requires technical assistance. SDC’s support to BACKUP Health is meant to improve the effectiveness of the coordinating mechanisms in order to ensure that the activities supported by the Global Fund  benefit the poor and vulnerable populations. Experiences gathered by the BACKUP Health in countries will be used to influence strategic decisions at Board level.

Contribution to UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2021

Despite significant progress, HIV/AIDS continues to be a public health, human rights and development challenge. Geneva-based UNAIDS leads a multisectoral and multistakeholder response to HIV/AIDS through the provision of strategic information, analyses and political advocacy. UNAIDS contributes to prevent and reduce new HIV infections, AIDS related deaths and related stigma and discrimination and as such significantly contributes to end the epidemic as a public health threat by 2030 worldwide.

Contribution to the International AIDS Society Educational Fund Programme

01.11.2018 - 31.08.2020

Significant yet insufficient progress has been made in the HIV/AIDS response. The body of evidence is large and tools are available but they are not fast enough disseminated, contextualized and included into national policies and programmes. The Educational Fund addresses this by offering countries different tailor-made modules. Through Swiss support, the programme will increasingly embed HIV/AIDS into a broader health response.

Youth Friendly Health Services in Moldova

01.11.2018 - 31.10.2020

Switzerland has supported Moldova in developing its youth friendly health services (YFHSs) and scaling them up to cover the entire country. The improved access to quality healthcare led to better health outcomes in adolescents, such as decreased alcohol use and incidence of sexually transmitted infections. The two-year exit phase of this project will focus on ensuring the sustainability of YFHSs and transferring the responsibility for matching the supply and demand for such services to relevant national and local institutions.

Gender transformative SRHR Systems for Improved HIV prevention

01.04.2018 - 31.03.2021

This programme contributes to the reduction of HIV infections and the improvement of sexual and reproductive health status of adolescents and young people in five Southern African countries. It strengthens capacities of communities and governments in mapping and addressing HIV and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) needs of young people and advocates for integrated regional policies and frameworks.

BACKUP Health Technical support for Global Fund country partners

01.07.2017 - 31.03.2020

Based in Geneva, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria does not have representations in the countries receiving its grants. To foster effective the implementation of its support, the Global Fund relies on coordination mechanisms that gather the main country-based partners, including people affected by the diseases. SDC co-financing of the BACKUP Health initiative aims at strengthening this multi-stakeholder management of Global Fund grants, reinforce accountability and increase the impact of the Global Fund.

Médecins sans Frontières Suisse (MSF)

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2018

Médecins Sans Frontières Suisse (MSF) delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF’s main focus is on medical assistance, but occasionally carries out other activities (food distributions, water and sanitation, shelter, etc.) when no other actors are able or willing to do so. Besides, when necessary, MSF speaks out publicly to bring attention to neglected crises, to challenge inadequacies or abuse of the aid system, and to advocate for improved medical treatments and protocols.

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