In 2000, photographer Tom Stoddart documented the HIV/AIDS crisis in Zambia through vivid photographs taken at the Mother of Mercy Hospice. Most patients never went home, because anti-retroviral treatments were expensive and unavailable to average Zambians.
Thirteen years later, Stoddart returned to Mother of Mercy and documented what he found. The slideshow below shows how dramatically the picture has improved; now 80% of Zambians living with HIV have access to treatment. See for yourself how things have changed:
Here are some facts and figures about the progress:
Today, more than 10 million people are receiving anti-retroviral therapy, which is 99 percent cheaper than it was back then. The rate of new HIV infections has also fallen by one-third. The world has also made huge progress against two other deadly diseases – tuberculosis and malaria. Deaths from TB have fallen by nearly 50%, and deaths from malaria have fallen by 33% in Africa.
Also stunning, from this article by Bill Gates:
A decade ago, over 1 million people in Zambia were living with HIV. Only 143 of them were receiving treatment. The average cost of that treatment was more than $10,000 per year. Being infected with HIV in Zambia was akin to a death sentence.
Earlier this week, world leaders met to replenish the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The fight continues, but the tide has turned.