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Core Program Areas

Agriculture Education Emergencies Health HIV and AIDS Microfinance Peacebuilding Water and Sanitation

Cross-Cutting Areas

Capacity Strengthening Climate Change ICT4D IHD Monitoring and Evaluation Youth


HIV is one of the largest and most complex threats to human health the world has ever known. Great stigma compounds already tragic physical consequences. And in the developing world, poverty itself is both a cause and an effect of a pandemic that is devastating the physical, social, and economic health of entire regions.

People around the world continue to suffer and die from this disease, which often robs them of family, social networks, and ways to make a living. Young women bear the greatest risk of infection and the burden of caring for the ill. But many people have found ways to live with dignity despite their HIV status, and CRS works to replicate that success.

In 25 years, HIV has infected millions of people worldwide. The majority of those suffering live in Africa, but the pandemic is quickly spreading in many countries throughout Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia. An estimated 33.3 million people are living with HIV and 17.5 million children will have been orphaned due to HIV. HIV and AIDS disproportionately affect the poor and vulnerable, and limited resources often prevent poor communities from supporting the millions who suffer.

Offering Compassion

Moved by compassion, Catholic Relief Services initiated our first HIV and AIDS project in 1986 in Bangkok, Thailand. We now have HIV programming in 62 countries across Africa and the hardest-hit regions of Asia and Latin America. We operate more than 280 HIV and AIDS projects in the poorest and most vulnerable areas of the developing world, with an expenditure of $192 million in 2009. This year, CRS will directly help more than eight million people affected by the pandemic.

CRS programming in HIV and AIDS has evolved to help individuals, families, and communities as they struggle through the physical, economic, social, and emotional devastation of the disease. By working with local partners — including Catholic, governmental, and other faith-based and private organizations — we empower people and communities to stem the tide of the pandemic.

Overview of CRS work in HIV/AIDS