Supporting HIV Treatment in South Africa

Through my job at Wieden & Kennedy NY, I have been selected to participate in a program called The International Exchange (TIE), a leadership development program that combines the expertise of communications professionals with the needs of non-profit/non-governmental organizations to create positive sustainable change.

As a result, I'm headed to Pretoria, South Africa this July to work for a month with the South Africa National Department of Health and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (part of the Clinton Foundation). During my time there, I will be helping to provide a better sense of what is working with a recent campaign that they launched (more info below), as well as what is not working and where to focus energies. I'll also help to recommend how they can improve their communications to date, and where they can strengthen the message to ensure that it's being clearly received by the correct people.

Now, the reason why you're on this page!

As part of TIE, participants are required to fundraise all or part of the research/advertising/marketing budget that will be used to fund the work we do in our placements abroad. Additionally, anything that I raise that is not needed for the campaign research that I'll be doing, I will be donating directly to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses on improving people's health in developing countries and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. Many of their grants focus on the issue of HIV prevention and eliminating the spread of AIDS.

I would love your help in supporting this crucially important cause and my work in South Africa this July.

For those interested, here's some more detailed information:

Changing the HIV Treatment in South Africa
South Africa is home to the world's largest population of people living with HIV, approximately 5.5 million people as estimated in 2010. In 2004, the South African National Department of Health introduced the public antiretroviral treatment (ART) program and by the end of 2011 there were approximately 1.7 million patients in treatment.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) previously consisted of the use of at least three antiretroviral drugs to maximally suppress HIV, the virus, and stop or slow the progression of HIV disease. On November 29th, 2013 National Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi announced the proposition for a fixed-dose combination (one drug tablet) of antiretrovirals. This was approved. "This in simple language means that a patient does not have to take three tablets twice a day and can now take one tablet once a day," explained Motsoaledi in the press release.

The change took effect on April 1st, 2013. This exciting news will revolutionize the way patients take their treatment. However, patients still need to be assured they will continue to receive a high quality of care with the new method of treatment, understand that this won't have an effect on their health, and that it is a decision to decrease their pill burden and effectively improve their quality of life. Therefore, NDOH and CHAI launched an awareness campaign to educate patients on the benefits of this change. The two groups have asked for TIE to help hone the communications post-launch, based on collected learnings since the message has been out "“ this is what I'll be doing in July!

Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)
This arm of the Clinton Foundation is a trusted adviser to governments, helping them transform the way they provide health care to their people. CHAI directly supports the NDOH activities in South Africa and has staff supporting the NDOH with drug procurement, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS programming, monitoring and evaluation, HIV counseling, laboratory management, and immunization. CHAI assisted with the drug procurement tender and is therefore well placed to consult on the communications strategy alongside the NDOH counterparts and other members of civil society.

The International Exchange (TIE)

  • Jessi Ortolano 
    • $20 
    • 102 mos
  • Kate Rothwell Russell 
    • $100 
    • 102 mos
  • Harrison Kobb 
    • $25 
    • 102 mos
  • Jenni Tandet 
    • $36 
    • 102 mos
  • Caren Oppenheim 
    • $50 
    • 102 mos
See all


Sam Wagner 
New York, NY
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more