Aidsfonds has been fighting AIDS for 30 years. In that time we have overcome a great deal. This offers confidence for the future in which even more has to be overcome.
Immediately after it was founded in 1985, Aidsfonds introduced buddy care for AIDS patients based on the American model. Since then, thousands of people with AIDS have received one-to-one guidance and support from volunteers. Thanks to investments by Aidsfonds, buddy care is available to patients with a wide range of illnesses, who have unwittingly become isolated.
In 1989, Aidsfonds made an important contribution to the later discovery of life-saving medications. It enabled the foundation of the National AIDS Therapy Evaluation Centre (NATEC) that carries out important research into treatment. Professor Joep Lange of NATEC was later one of the architects of life-saving combination therapy. In 2010, over 5.2 million people could thank their lives to this treatment.
In 1996, Aidsfonds and the Dutch HIV Association made every effort to ensure early availability of life-saving HIV treatment in the Netherlands. They convinced Minister Borst, who in turn arranged for the treatment to be provided six months early. It saved lives.
In 1999, a shorter course of treatment was discovered for pregnant women with HIV, partly due to support from Aidsfonds. This treatment reduced the chance of HIV in babies. It was much cheaper than existing treatment and could be provided on a large scale in poor countries. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of babies have been born without HIV as a result.
Aidsfonds wanted to show that it was also possible to offer treatment in developing countries. So in 2002, it started supporting treatment projects in 10 African countries. In 2007, the Health Insurance Fund was set up partly with the help of Aidsfonds. As a result, ordinary people could be insured for HIV treatment. This fund ultimately offered health insurance to 230,000 people in Africa.
After years of lobbying by Aidsfonds and the Dutch HIV Association, in 2005 people with HIV in the Netherlands could take out life insurance and as a result, buy a house.
In 2006, Aidsfonds responded to the fear of a resistant virus spreading with a promising, worldwide project. In 25 countries in Asia and Africa, 4,000 patients were closely monitored for five years in order to identify and counteract resistant forms of the virus. Never before had resistance been studied on such a large scale.
Since the 1990s, Aidsfonds has encouraged prevention projects aimed at groups that have been hit hard by HIV, like drug users, gay men, ethnic minorities, prostitutes and young people. As a result, the AIDS epidemic in the Netherlands has remained small. In 2007, Aids Fonds helped set up the Global Forum on MSM and HIV. This forum promotes HIV prevention amongst gay men and cares for gay men with HIV in countries where this sort of help is not automatic.
A downside of the fact that HIV is unnoticeable, is the anxiety that people feel when they are suddenly confronted with someone's HIV infection. Without exception, everyone with HIV experiences negative reactions according to research by Aidsfonds. Therefore, from 2008 to 2010, Aids Fonds conducted the campaign 'Exclude HIV, not people with HIV.' The campaign dispelled a lot of ignorance and again directed a lot of attention to HIV in the Netherlands.
In 2010, Aidsfonds carried out a successful campaign against planned cuts of € 83 million, which put 180,000 lives at stake. Thanks to this campaign, the cuts were reduced by € 25.5 million and tens of thousands of people could get life-saving treatment.