AID FOR AIDS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to empowering communities at risk of HIV and the population at large, by developing their abilities and capacities in comprehensive prevention through access to treatment, advocacy, education and training to improve their quality of life and reduce stigma and discrimination.
Our vision is to be recognized internationally as a successful model of empowerment, built on efficient and sustainable programs with a high social impact, allowing the development of leaders who adopt comprehensive prevention as a lifestyle to promote a better quality of life in the general population.
Besides providing free medication to people with HIV in developing countries who do not have access to treatment, AID FOR AIDS provides prevention education, case management, and advocacy to those with HIV and those affected by the epidemic both internationally and in the United States.
AID FOR AIDS is comprised of passionate individuals with a deep commitment to our mission. Everyday, our staff works to better the lives of people with HIV and those affected by the epidemic.
AID FOR AIDS is privileged to work with those on the Board of Directors who have tirelessly championed its causes while providing their unique knowledge and experience as leaders in their field. Meet our Board here:
Founded in 1996 by Jesús Aguais, AID FOR AIDS was first conceived as a simple idea of recycling unused, unexpired HIV medication and redistributing them to those without access to the costly medicines around the world.
In 1996, the increased availability of antiretroviral therapy had a profound impact on AIDS mortality rates in the United States. Yet in developing countries, life-saving medication remained difficult and expensive to access, while the number of new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths continued to climb.
Jesús Aguais, an AIDS activist from Venezuela, was working as a counselor at the HIV Clinic of St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center in New York City during this time. He noticed patients would frequently changed their antiretroviral treatment regimens, discarding many of the unused pills. Instead of allowing this perfectly good medication to go to waste, Jesús began collecting it in a drawer in his office, urging friends and clients to pass on their leftover medication whenever possible.
One day, an elderly woman came into the clinic to meet Jesús, the person she had heard about back in her home country. She had sold all of her possessions to travel from Venezuela and plead with him to help her family. Although the clinic could do nothing for her HIV-positive relatives, the medications saved in his drawer were the same antiretrovirals the woman needed for her family—medication they did not have access to in Venezuela.
This one woman and her struggle to find treatment represented to Jesús the thousands of people impacted by HIV worldwide in developing countries. She, and the countless people like her, inspired him to mobilize a group of dedicated and determined individuals to begin AID FOR AIDS. The organization has grown to include not only the largest HIV Medicine Recycling Program in the world, but also education, prevention, training, and advocacy programs that target people with HIV in developing countries.