AidsArkSaving lives by enabling access to HIV medication and associated care at the frontiers of the developing world
The AidsArk name was inspired Schindler’s Ark, the book a reference to the biblical story of Noah’s Ark and the basis for the film Schindler’s List.
The real-life Oskar Schindler saved over 1000 Jewish people from the Nazi death camps. Through bribes to German officials, he saved as many as he could afford.
Similarly, AidsArk cannot save the whole world from AIDS but we can save some, and as Schindler said, “To save one soul is to save the world entire.”
We all should do whatever we can.
Meet Nonkosi, our first beneficiary
Nonkosi is AidsArk’s first ever beneficiary. Here you can see her with opportunistic infections defining AIDS just before she started antiretroviral medication provided by AidsArk and one year later.
Her health was so bad in October 2002 that her doctor in South Africa feared there was little hope for her at the time, notwithstanding our intervention and resulting access to ARV drugs. Though her survival was further complicated by a bout of tuberculosis, Nonkosi made it through. Once her ARV treatment started, her viral load decreased and she has continued to prosper since.
Nonkosi is one of the fortunate people who have been saved by AidsArk funding. Yet, in many developing countries millions of HIV-positive people who need access to antiretroviral drugs to prevent AIDS still are not getting them. In 2013 alone, 1.5 million people died from AIDS.
AidsArk life stories
My eating is very well. I picked up weight very fast and my health is very good. I am feeling so much better now. Thank you AidsArk for saving my life and protecting the future of my family!Alison, South Africa
I wish to thank AidsArk for funding the ARV drugs to my son. Last year we thought he would die. Now, he is in good health and has energy to play. The whole family is happy to see him leading a happy life again and gaining weight. We would like to see AidsArk supplying ARVs to more innocent children like my son.Aung Khant Kyaw's Father, Burma
I have told only my wife. If my parents knew, they would throw me from the house. If my work knew, I would immediately lose my job.Sudesh, India
Without AidsArk there would be no future for either me, my son or my mother on this earth.Adjita, India
AidsArk has not only saved my daughter’s life, but also the life of my family. She is now in good health and can attend school and activities like other children.Than Shiw's Father, Burma
My parents born me with first life. ARV drugs give me second life. AidsArk who support me with ARV drugs is my life saver. My health improves. Now I can do work and help my husband farming. My family do not discriminate me like before. I am happy and no longer worry and shame. Now our family can live again, we have a future. This is the miracle AidsArk bring us. How can I thank you enough?Ommar Win Zaw, Burma
a few of the projects we support
Mae Tao Clinic, Thailand
The Mae Tao Clinic, known locally as Dr. Cynthia’s clinic after its founder Dr. Cynthia Maung, is a clinic serving the Burmese refugee population in Mae Sot, Western Thailand, approximately 500 km northwest of Bangkok. In operation since 1989, it serves a population of around 150,000 people who shelter in the mountainous border region of Burma and Thailand.
AidsArk is funding the care of 20 HIV+ individuals as of early 2012. All Burmese refugees, the HIV+ population here is in urgent need of long-term access to ARVs and medical care. They and the Mae Tao Clinic have been unable to fund access to antiretrovirals from elsewhere.
Helderberg Street People’s Centre, South Africa
AidsArk funded £1,000 toward the costs of this project with a request that it be used to serve the needs of HIV+ members in need of accessing medical treatment. This project does wonderful community work and is headed by Ian Greer whose work is well known to the AidsArk organisation.
The trustees visited this programme in January 2011. Their HIV-related work ensures that HIV+ people in their care have the transportation necessary to attend appointments with HIV specialists and to maintain adherence to their treatment regimes.
Baphumelele, South Africa
Baphumelele provides in-home hospice services. AidsArk helps to fund the salaries of a professional nurse and two senior carers who provide home medical services and support to HIV+ individuals living near the Baphumelele Respite Care Centre. Their initiative serves approximately 50 HIV+ individuals and their families. AidsArk trustees visited this programme in January 2011.
AidsArk has agreed to support the organisation with interim funding as it works to obtain state support.
Medical Action Myanmar, Burma
AidsArk enables HAART medication and full medical care for 85 people with HIV in urgent need through Medical Action Myanmar’s Hlaingthayar clinic. Dinner for One donations in 2012 allowed us to increase funding to this project to support ten additional beneficiaries.
This clinic assists some of the poorest people in Burma. Dr Frank Smithuis, former head of Medecins Sans Frontiers Burma and the person responsible for saving more lives of people with HIV in Burma than anyone else, now heads up the clinic.
Red Cross Hospital, South Africa
On the back of success at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, AidsArk is also funding genotype resistance blood tests for a further thirteen children at the Red Cross Hospital in Cape Town.
These children who also became resistant to their first-line ARVs have since been placed on new drug regimens. Again, half are able to receive medicines available from the South African government and the rest of the children are being supplied medicines free of charge from the US manufacturer.
We are very excited by this effective new way of leveraging AidsArk donations to help save lives and the massive impact that we promote with this procedure. We hope to expand genotype resistance programmes moving forward.
Across the border from Burma, in the state of Manipur, India, HIV+ Burmese refugees are in urgent need of HAART treatment.
As refugees, they are not eligible for free care at the Indian Government clinics. AidsArk provides a grant to FXB India to provide HIV medication and care for 63 beneficiaries currently. This project is a huge priority for us given the extreme need and lack of help otherwise.
FXB India, Andhra Pradesh
AidsArk has a long history of support for this project run by Dr. Raju. Originally we provided HIV medication to this region before the start of the government programme. Subsequently, we have continued to support fifty people with HIV/AIDS and their families with nutritional packs and medical support for opportunistic infections that can appear as a result of their HIV infection.
The trustees have set up a separate programme from the estate of Elizabeth Frost to support training and income generation programmes for women with HIV and their families.
We are working with Dr Raju to encourage transition to other funding sources for the Vizag programme as we hope to reorient donations completely toward support of antiretrovirals for those who do not have access or for programmes like the genotype resistance assays.
Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, South Africa
At the start of 2012 AidsArk started funding a new approach to combatting HIV. We are now funding a programme at the Desmund Tutu HIV Foundation in Cape Town to help children with HIV who have become resistant to medications and are failing their first-line ARV medical regimen. The prognosis for these children was poor as without better understanding of reasons for their resistance, they were unlikely to be be successful in follow-on therapies. AidsArk is intervening by providing funding for these children to receive genotype resistance blood tests at the cost of £177 per child.
Funding for these tests would otherwise not have been available. With the results from these tests, half these children were then able to be put on alternative effective ARV medications which are freely available from the South African government. The other half of these children needed ARV medicines which have only just come out in the US and which are not yet available in South Africa. Fortunately, with these genotype test results, the US manufacturer of these new medicines has agreed to supply these medicines free of charge to these children in South Africa.