Medicine:Avert (HIV and AIDS organisation)

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Avert (global HIV and AIDS organisation)
Avert logo.png
Founded1986 (1986)
FounderPeter Kanabus and Annabel Kanabus, daughter of Robert Sainsbury
TypeCharitable organisation
FocusHIV, HIV/AIDS, Health policy
  • Avert, First Floor South, 6/7 Lovers Walk, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 6AH, United Kingdom
Area served
Formerly called
AIDS Virus Education Research Trust

Avert is an international HIV and AIDS charity based in Brighton, United Kingdom . Avert’s vision is a world with no new HIV infections.

The charity provides information and education on HIV and AIDS to a global audience. This work empowers people to protect themselves and others from infection, and provides support to those living with HIV.

Alongside its education website, Avert’s international programmes partner with organisations in the countries most affected by HIV. These partnerships help to strengthen community responses to the epidemic and make local treatment and prevention more effective.

The award winning website offers HIV and AIDS information for a digital generation. The site had 12 million visitors in 2015, with nearly 200,000 returning visitors each month.[1]

Users of the site are from over 180 different countries, with the top ten countries spread across five continents; USA, India, UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands, Indonesia, the Philippines and Kenya.[2]

The website is divided into two main areas – public and professional. The public section of the site provides information for individual on sexual health, HIV and STIs, and relationships – including personal stories from the site’s users. It offers reassurance to people newly diagnosed with HIV and dispels dangerous myths about HIV and AIDS. The professional section of the site provides a thoroughly-researched and referenced resource on the global epidemic, alongside an up-to-date news service to inform people working in HIV programming, policy or research, health workers, teachers and students.

In 2012, Avert won the Nominet Internet Award[3] under the ‘Online Training and Education’ category, in association with the British Library.

International projects

Avert funds a range of projects in developing countries, predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa, where the AIDS epidemic is most severe. Avert has worked with a variety of organisations, including Sangram in southwest India , and Tholulwazi Uzivikele in KwaZulu Natal. Currently the charity is working in partnership with four organisations.

The Umunthu Foundation in Malawi has been working with Avert since 2010 to provide HIV counselling and testing, awareness-raising, prevention and support to people living with HIV.

Since 2005, Sisonke in South Africa has been working with Avert to build a network across 20 rural communities of elderly women caring for their grandchildren who have been orphaned by AIDS.

Avert has been working with Phelisanang Bophelong in Lesotho since 2015 to improve awareness of HIV among young people locally. The project also plans to support key affected groups in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and in prisons.

In Zambia, since 2015 Avert has been working with Bwafwano Integrated Services Organisation (BISO) on tackling the HIV and TB co-epidemic. BISO provides education, treatment and support for those affected by HIV, TB or both, and campaigns for people’s rights and needs.

History and early work

Avert was founded in 1986, by Peter Kanabus and his wife Annabel, daughter of former Sainsbury's chairman Robert Sainsbury. In its first fifteen years the charity focused on producing educational publications and funding HIV-related educational, social and medical research.[4]

A number of Avert's publications, such as the AIDS: Working With Young People (1993) teaching pack were based on substantial educational research. In addition many thousands of AVERT's booklets were distributed in the UK each year, covering such topics as sex education, sexuality and HIV.

Medical research funded by Avert included the first ever study of the effect of pregnancy on the progression of HIV disease, and social research included studies of HIV and drug use in UK prisons.[5]

The website was launched in 1995 in order to provide education about prevention of HIV and support for individuals living with HIV and AIDS.

In 2001 the charity decided to concentrate on two key areas of work: its information and education website website, and its programme work outside of the UK in countries with a particularly high or rapidly increasing rate of HIV infection.

The charity's work made headlines in 2008 when South Africa n doctor Colin Pfaff was suspended from his post for supplying HIV positive, pregnant women with the antiretroviral drug AZT,[6] which had been paid for by Avert. At the time the South African government had not approved the use of AZT to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, even though it was recommended by the World Health Organisation and was widely used in other developing countries. Rural doctors, scientists, AIDS activists and organisations rallied in support of Pfaff, and the charges were subsequently dropped.[7]

In 2015 the website had a major redesign, with a focus on mobile users.

Accreditations and awards

In January 2015, Avert became a certified member of the Information Standard, a UK National Health Service (NHS) accreditation that recognises trustworthy health information.[8]

In 2014, outputs of research funded by Avert (the Care in the Home Study) exploring challenges facing caregivers in rural South Africa was published in the PLOS ONE journal.[9]

In 2012, Avert won the Nominet Internet Award[3] under the ‘Online Training and Education’ category, in association with the British Library.

In 2005 the site won the British Medical Association's Patient Information Award for Websites.

See also

  • HIV/AIDS in the United Kingdom


External links