Every day, 12,000 people worldwide are infected by the HIV virus. Some 39.5 million people on the planet are now infected, and in 2006 alone, 2.9 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses. Some hope lies in drug treatment with ARVs (antiretrovirals) which have become more available to low-income, developing countries since the introduction of cheaper generic drugs, and deals negotiated with the major drug companies by the World Bank, UNICEF and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS.
In 2004, Medecins Sans Frontieres launched the first program of free treatment with antiretroviral drugs for AIDS patients in Ethiopia, at the Kahsay Abera hospital in Humera. The epidemic in Ethiopia had not reached the proportions that it had in some Sub-Saharan countries, although there were already some three million people infected with the HIV virus.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has made major strides in combating the disease with the introduction of three-in-one pills, which are much simpler for the patient to take. Pep Bonet photographed MSF’s ARV programs in six Sub-Saharan countries.