Leiyoeung Tai, 48, was able to access HIV treatment free of charge through a program supported by the Global Fund. Image: Global Fund
In the early 2000s when Maurine Murenga was diagnosed with HIV there was little access to treatment in Kenya and a lot of stigma around the disease.
In 2002, Maurine could not access services to prevent mother-to-child transmission and her son, Earl, contracted HIV from her at birth.
In 2003, Maurine and her son were able to begin free treatment when The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria started funding programs in Kenya.
In 2013, Maurine had another son who is HIV-free.
The story of Maurine and her children is just one of many successes achieved through the Global Fund, in which Australia’s investment has saved an estimated 235,000 lives of people with these diseases from 2004 to 2014.
HIV is no longer the death sentence it was just 15 years ago, but still killed 1.2 million people in 2014.
An estimated 4.9 million people were still living with HIV in the Asia Pacific, Australia’s priority region, in 2012.
In spite of this, Australia’s investment in the fight against HIV and AIDS is at risk due to cuts to Australian aid.
That’s why we need to push for Australia not to cut its aid output further ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1 where the theme will be “Getting to zero”.
We can’t eliminate new HIV infections without giving adequate help.