HIV Volunteer Abroad Programs

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According to the WHO HIV Factsheet, “HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 39 million lives so far. In 2013, 1.5 million people died from HIV-related causes globally.” Although much progress has been made in recent years through global education, prevention and treatment initiatives, there remains much to be done. (UNAIDS)

Prevention and awareness efforts often encounter barriers due to cultural stigmas and misunderstanding. Volunteering for such efforts requires patience and cultural sensitivity. Volunteers should be passionate about understanding and appreciating the local culture.

Photo credit: Pacific Air Forces

Healthcare

Help address the immediate healthcare needs of those living with HIV through working in hospitals or clinics. Some volunteer programs place volunteers at local healthcare facilities, where they help with patient intake, treatment and care, or lab work and research.

These projects are often limited to individuals with some healthcare background, as they do require some special knowledge and specific skills.

Teaching and Education

Education initiatives are a huge part of the global effort to combat HIV. Volunteers can participate in this effort through conducting awareness classes or producing educational materials.

This option is available to individuals without healthcare backgrounds and often involves community outreach and group presentations.

Educating local populations about HIV and how it is spread is an integral part of prevention initiatives and can be an exciting, if challenging, project to be involved in.

Community Support

The HIV/AIDS epidemic impacts entire communities. Help support those suffering from the loss and grief associated with HIV/AIDS through volunteering at orphanages, food banks, and other community organizations.

Many volunteers programs engage with HIV by offering their support and assistance to provide for the physical and emotional needs of communities that are impacted by HIV.

Volunteering activities in these programs vary greatly but might include teaching courses or leading crafts/playtime at local orphanages, preparing and serving meals, or organizing and distributing donations.

Sub-Saharan Africa

HIV is most prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the nations of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland.

Several key issues have been identified as key drivers for the spread of HIV in these areas, including: polygamous relationships, unemployment, labor migration and displacement as a result of conflict. (AVERT)

Asia

Outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia experiences the highest AIDS death toll. Almost 5 million people are living with HIV in South, East, and South-East Asia. Transmission routes in Asia differ slightly from those in Africa, and include the following: unprotected paid sex, injecting drug use, and sex between men.

Asia has seen great success of large-scale prevention initiatives, largely those aimed at educating sex workers, and at making condoms and “STI testing” more widely available. (AVERT)

Latin America

Compared to Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, the number of people infected with HIV in Latin America may seem small. However, with 1.5 million people living with HIV, the number of lives affects is quite substantial.

High levels of poverty and HIV-related discrimination have proved difficult barriers to addressing the epidemic in these areas. (AVERT)

  • WHO: The World Health Organization provides in-depth information and statistics about all sorts of health issues, including HIV.
  • Global Volunteer Network: GVN is a prolific network designed to help place you in international volunteer programs, and offers several programs that specifically address the issues of HIV.
  • Projects Abroad: Projects Abroad also offers great volunteer program placement with many locations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • AVERT: AVERT is an international HIV/AIDS organization with a great network of programs and a very informative website. Their website is one of the most-viewed websites concerning the issues of HIV/AIDS, reaching over 200 countries. Look here for a better understanding about the epidemic, and about what initiatives are underway to address it.
Contributed by Maxine Marshall

Showing 35 Programs

South Africa

Volunteering Journeys
South Africa is a nation that will take your breath away with its people, culture and natural habitat. It has a lot of potent...

Costa Rica

International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ
No matter what your level of experience in the world of healthcare, IVHQ has ways for you to get involved and help make a dif...

Kenya

African Impact
Should you be a medical professional, medical graduate, desire to spend a gap year in Africa or simply have a passion for hel...

Brazil

Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad
Iko Poran offers a wide range of safe, affordable and responsible volunteer programs in Rio de Janeiro. Our variety of progra...

India

Volunteering Solutions
Take a trip to India and volunteer with Volunteering Solutions! Volunteering is a great way to immerse yourself in the cultur...

India

UBELONG
UBELONG offers 1-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in Delhi, India. Volunteer in one of these world-class projects:...

Morocco

Cross-Cultural Solutions
Four million people in Morocco live below the poverty line, three million of them in rural areas, yet many families living ju...

Ghana

A Broader View Volunteers Corp
Children Orphanage Assistance Missions (Volta Region) (Western Region) The children come from a variety of situations includi...

Costa Rica

ISA Internships & Service-Learning
San José, the capital of Costa Rica, is in the central valley of the Costa Rican rainforest. As the cultural, economic, and p...

Uganda

Hopeland Volunteers
Our volunteer program is centered around providing hope to the women and children we serve in Uganda. We partner with a non p...

Tanzania

African Impact
Many schools in Africa are overwhelmed with a large number of students per class and very limited resources. African Impact a...

Kenya

International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ
Every year, hundreds of volunteers join IVHQ's highly affordable volunteer projects in Kenya. Based in Nairobi, Kibera, Nakur...

Uganda

African Volunteer Aid
Life in Ugandan community is no different to other regions of Africa and poverty still has a large impact on the quality of l...

Tanzania

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Peace House Africa
**Important update: Peace House Africa has been forced to suspend this volunteer program until further notice, due to the ill...

Argentina

Road2Argentina
The Road2Argentina Volunteer in Argentina program is designed for people looking for an opportunity to help others in Argenti...