Département VIH/sida de l'hôpital régional d'Arua en Ouganda

AIDS: A new pandemic leading to new medical and political practices


Joan Amondi graduated in Literature (Moï University, Eldoret, Kenya). She has worked for MSF-Crash as an interpreter, a translator and a research assistant. 

Jean-Hervé Bradol

Medical doctor, specialized in tropical medicine, emergency medicine and epidemiology. In 1989 he went on mission with Médecins sans Frontières for the first time, and undertook long-term missions in Uganda, Somalia and Thailand. He returned to the Paris headquarters in 1994 as a programs director. Between 1996 and 1998, he served as the director of communications, and later as director of operations until May 2000 when he was elected president of the French section of Médecins sans Frontières. He was re-elected in May 2003 and in May 2006. From 2000 to 2008, he was a member of the International Council of MSF and a member of the Board of MSF USA. He is the co-editor of "Medical innovations in humanitarian situations" (MSF, 2009) and Humanitarian Aid, Genocide and Mass Killings: Médecins Sans Frontiéres, The Rwandan Experience, 1982–97 (Manchester University Press, 2017).


Vanja Kovačič is a Medical Anthropologist. After having worked for several years as a researcher at the Crash, she is now working for the Manson Unit in MSF UK.


Medical Doctor, HIV Specialist at Médecins Sans Frontières

Date de publication

It seemed appropriate to assemble these texts now, at a time when the history of our AIDS missions is compelling us to formulate new goals. Until 1996, all we could do was to try to prevent and treat some of the opportunistic infections. Since then, the advent and large-scale distribution of antiretroviral drugs have turned the HIV field upside down, and the new drugs have brought new questions. At what stage of the infection should we start prescribing antiretroviral therapy? What should we do to ensure that every patient who needs treatment can get it, when millions still don't have access? How can we reduce the number of new cases? Can the epidemic be controlled in places where the HIV prevalence is very high?

The first text is taken from a book on medical innovation in the specific context of humanitarian situations. It looks at the different attitudes adopted by MSF over the years in response to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemics, starting in the early 1980s and stopping at the end of the first decade of the 2000s, when millions of patients worldwide began receiving antiretroviral therapy. The second text picks up the thread of that story, but this time at the field project level, in the Homa Bay district of Kenya.

The last two texts offer an anthropological perspective on two issues discussed among the Homa Bay project teams: how caregiver team analyses connect the local culture to the spread of the epidemic, and the conditions for patient access to HIV diagnosis and treatment.

To this selection we have added a DVD with five films showing the different steps taken to implement preventive and curative treatments in Malawi since the early 2000s. A sixth documentary looks at issues of antiretroviral access in low-income countries from a political and economic perspective.

To cite this content :
Joan Amondi, Jean-Hervé Bradol, Vanja Kovacic, Elisabeth Szumilin, AIDS: A new pandemic leading to new medical and political practices, 15 décembre 2011, URL : https://msf-crash.org/en/medicine-and-public-health/aids-new-pandemic-leading-new-medical-and-political-practices

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