HIV/AIDS – Giving priority to prevention

In the past 10 years there have been some encouraging results where HIV/AIDS is concerned. Nevertheless, although by 2009 the epidemic stabilized globally, infection rates in some countries are still on the increase. We still face major challenges, particularly in the areas of prevention and the protection of human rights. Homophobia, punitive legislation and sexist violence are increasingly undermining the efforts made to improve the access of key population groups to HIV-related services.

SDC Focus

Switzerland is making an active contribution to worldwide efforts to combat HIV/AIDS by supporting specialized international organizations such as the WHO, UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as well as and international and regional organizations, federations and networks. In its bilateral relations, Switzerland is concentrating on prevention, particularly in the context of sexual and reproductive health programmes, and on improving access to care services, support and treatment without discrimination. The HIV/AIDS component is included in development aid programmes using a transversal approach: for example, each bilateral programme conducted in a region where HIV is endemic considers the role of persons infected with HIV in regard to the development programme and its impact on them, and vice versa.

The SDC also supports some activities undertaken by Swiss NGOs involved internationally in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and encourages them to network and coordinate their efforts within Switzerland. The SDC also cooperates with the private sector, universities and academics.


Since its discovery in the early 1980s, HIV has been responsible for more than 25 million deaths. There has been a massive international response. The resources devoted to combating AIDS increased from USD 1.6 billion in 2001 to USD 15.9 billion in 2009, with remarkable results. For one, there has been a 19% decrease in the number of new cases of infection over the last 10 years, and for another, access to anti-viral treatments has improved in low-income countries while, the cost of such treatments has fallen. Nonetheless, progress remains fragile and unevenly spread. It is essential that we be more innovative in our partnerships and provision of funding. We all have to assume our responsibilities, at different levels.


Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 15

Action against HIV/AIDS in Southern African prisons

01.08.2015 - 30.09.2018

Faced with an alarming prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Southern African prisons, the SDC has undertaken to reform the prison healthcare system in Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Help is being provided to the relevant authorities in the implementation of set standards of care. The prison staff are being trained. Funding is also being provided for new infrastructure projects targeted specifically at women and young prisoners.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Sexually transmitted diseases incl. HIV/AIDS
Sexual and reproductive health (including mother and child health, family planning)
Communicable diseases

01.08.2015 - 30.09.2018

CHF 3'734'300

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and HIV in prisons

01.10.2018 - 31.07.2024

Prisoners are a high-risk group when it comes to HIV and other communicable diseases. Nonetheless, little attention has been paid so far to address the need for HIV and AIDS and other health services in prisons. The project will improve HIV and health services for prisoners, including young women and men in seven countries of Southern Africa. At regional level, it will address policy issues that are adversely affecting the prison conditions and the rights of prisoners in the context of health and nutrition.

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

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2018

HIV/AIDS continues to be a global public health and development challenge. UNAIDS is well positioned to guide and coordinate the global HIV/AIDS response through the provision of strategic information, analyses and political advocacy and leadership. UNAIDS contributes to prevent and reduce new HIV infections, AIDS related deaths and related stigma and discrimination. As such, UNAIDS significantly contributes to the SDG target of ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.

Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI)

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2019

The Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) supports policy development and provides technical support for the improvement of psychosocial wellbeing and mental wellness of children and young people to mitigate the negative impact of HIV and AIDS, poverty, and other vulnerabilities. It provides technical assistance to governments and non-governmental organizations to integrate and implement psychosocial support into social services, health and education in East and southern Africa.

Strengthening institutional capacity for treatment and care for HIV/AIDS patients

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2019

Swiss Aids Care International (SACI) runs a nurse led family centred clinic in Harare that offers comprehensive treatment, care and support of high quality to poor people infected by HIV. SACI trains nurses to take over clinical tasks previously reserved to doctors only to address the huge shortage on health services in Zimbabwe. SACI also develops and applies an efficient electronic medical record system. A recent external review rated SACI as a centre of excellence.

Contribution de programme à la plate-forme de Medicus Mundi Suisse (MMS)

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2019

Medicus Mundi Suisse regroupe 53 organisations non-gouvernementales suisses de coopération internationale qui travaillent dans le domaine de la santé. Ce réseau est mandaté par ses membres pour améliorer la qualité de leur travail en favorisant échange et capitalisation d’expériences. Il s’efforce aussi de sensibiliser le public suisse sur le droit à la santé. Sur la base de l’expérience de ses membres il contribue au dialogue sur les questions de santé globale avec les partenaires suisses et internationaux.

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2019

Despite progress made, major gaps still exist to fully realize sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. IPPF, through its 147 member associations in over 170 countries, is among the leading non-governmental organisations globally active in advocacy and service delivery to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights. As such, IPPF contributes to the implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Agenda 2030.

ACT!2015 Initiative

01.09.2015 - 31.12.2017

In view of the negotiation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and considering persisting gaps in the area of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) including HIV/AIDS for young people, UNAIDS and partners have initiated the ACT!2015 Initiative to bring in young people’s voices on SRHR and HIV/AIDS into the global SDG discussions. While maintaining engagement at global level, the Initiative will increasingly shift its focus on the implementation of the SDGs at national level.

ESTHER (Ensemble pour une Solidarité Thérapeutique Hospitalière En Réseau)

01.03.2015 - 31.01.2019

Switzerland contributes to improve the quality of health services and the health of the populations in Low and Middle Income Countries through institutional health partnerships. Switzerland offers its health expertise by twinning Swiss health institutions, mainly hospitals and research institutes, with the same type of institutions and by focusing on the area of sexual and reproductive health including HIV/AIDS. These institutional partnerships are embedded within the framework of the European ESTHER Alliance.

Strengthening Social Accountability and Oversight in Health and Agriculture

01.11.2014 - 30.04.2019

This project aims to contribute to the equitable, effective and accountable allocation and use of public resources for health and agriculture in SADC countries by addressing social accountability in a systemic approach in strengthening the roles of relevant parliamentary committees, civil society organizations, smallholder farmer organisations and the media. The first phase of the project will focus on Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.

Youth Friendly Health Services (YFHS)

01.11.2014 - 31.10.2018

In Moldova, young people face various health challenges which are currently not adequately addressed by health services. To improve this situation, Youth Friendly Health Services started as pilots in 2005 and are being scaled-up by the Ministry of Health since 2011, with the support of SDC. The project is focused on improving the quality and enhancing the comprehensiveness of the services, as well as on the community support for young people to adopt a healthier lifestyle and seek assistance from health services.

HIV Prevention Program - Community Systems for integrated HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

01.10.2014 - 31.03.2018

This HIV prevention program of the Southern African Aids Trust will strengthen the capacities of communities in mapping and addressing HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) needs of especially adolescents, young people and women in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana and Malawi. It will support the Ministries of Health and Education at country level and advocate for regional policies and frameworks at SADC level to improve integrated service delivery of HIV and SRHR.

Object 1 – 12 of 15