HIV / STIs

We work in some of the worst hit countries in Africa and Asia to reduce the number of people being infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and integrate HIV/AIDS and STI prevention and treatment services.

There are an estimated 34 million people living with HIV worldwide, more than two thirds of them in sub-SaharanAfrica. The number of people dying from AIDS has been reduced by the roll-out of effective treatments in recent years, but the virus still claimed 1.8 million lives in 2010

Integrating with other services

Our work on HIV and other sexually transmitted infections is fully integrated into our broader sexual and reproductive health programmes. Poor sexual and reproductive health and HIV infection have common roots in poverty, gender inequality, stigma and cultural norms.

It therefore makes sense to wrap these services into a holistic programme that supports progress towards good health as a whole.

Working with communities

Our HIV/AIDS programmes are primarily focused on prevention of new infections. We work with communities to spread prevention messages via educational campaigns aimed at behaviour change.

We offer voluntary testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and the counselling that must accompany it. We diagnose and treat a range of sexually transmitted infections, and we refer HIV-positive clients to agencies that offer treatment options.

Preventing mother-to-child transmission

Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV is an important area of our work. Mother-to-child transmission occurs when the HIV virus passes from a woman to her baby during pregnancy, labour, delivery, or breastfeeding.

Without treatment, around 15-30% of babies born to HIV-infected women will become infected with HIV during pregnancy and delivery. A further 5-20% will become infected through breastfeeding. In 2010, 390,000 children under 15 worldwide became infected with HIV, mainly through mother-to-child transmission.

We’re working to stop children becoming infected in this way by integrating a package of PMTCT measures into our wider programmes through antenatal and safe delivery care. Our integrated services for women include antenatal care, nutritional advice, PMTCT, and a safe delivery for HIV positive and negative women.

We also offer a range of feeding advice and options, voluntary family planning and where appropriate further referral for antiretroviral therapy for HIV positive women following delivery.

Male Circumcision Partnership

Voluntary male circumcision is a growing focus of our work in countries with high HIV prevalence and low male circumcision prevalence as it’s an effective method of preventing HIV transmission in conjunction with consistent condom use.

In Zambia for example, we’ve worked with PSI, Population Council and Jhpiego on the Male Circumcision Partnership, which will provide around 490,000 voluntary circumcisions over five years.

MSI Zambia aims to provide 24% of these procedures, following voluntary testing and counselling for HIV and STIs as appropriate. Male circumcision is also a good entry point for men into reproductive healthcare for their own continued good sexual and reproductive health and that of their partners.

Download our Integrating sexual reproductive health and HIV services factsheet to learn more about the range of HIV services we offer globally, how we work with our partners, and how we’re making a real and lasting difference to the lives of women and men in the countries we work in around the world.

Marie Stopes International endorses the Code of Good Practice for NGOs responding to HIV / AIDS on.

HIV / STIs case studies: