In Cameroon, one in 20 people is HIV-positive. Many need life-saving anti-retroviral medications (ARVs), which are provided free. But it's only the drugs themselves that are free -- not the regular blood work, doctor's appointments, or travel to the clinic. These monthly costs can reach $100, when many patients get by on less than $2 per day. The high costs associated with AIDS treatment, prevent many Cameroonians from accessing the healthcare they need. This leads to more new HIV infections.
The Circle of Love project was introduced in response to HIV-positive youths' medical expenses, specifically the costs of CD4 tests and other diagnostic exams required to access AIDS treatment. Beneficiaries also provide their contribution to the costs. In 2010, 54 HIV-positive members were supported through the Circle of Love project, but there is greater need in 2012, particularly for protection from opportunistic infections, such as malaria, due to significant flooding in the region.
When HIV-positive men, women and youth are able to access regular health care, they are more likely to: stay healthier; provide for their families; stay in school; and prevent their loved ones from getting infected with HIV.