The MaxART programme (2011-2017)

Swaziland, with the highest HIV prevalence in the world, has successfully scaled up HIV testing and treatment. In the past few years, the country achieved near-nationwide access to antiretroviral therapy. Among many interventions leading to this success is the Maximizing ART for Better Health and Zero New HIV Infections (MaxART) programme.

Our approach

Led by the Ministry of Health, Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!) in collaboration with Clinton Health Access Initiative launched the pioneering MaxART programme in Swaziland in 2011. The ambitious goal of the programme was to improve the lives of people living with HIV and prevent new HIV infections in Swaziland. Regular testing, access to early antiretroviral treatment (ART), and lifelong retention in care and treatment were key elements of the programme.

Research demonstrates that giving people living with HIV the opportunity to be treated at an early stage of the disease considerably reduces the likelihood of transmitting HIV – by as much as 96%. Moreover, mathematical models predict that large-scale testing and early treatment results in a 50% drop of new infections over a period of ten years. It may be one of the most powerful tools available to get to zero new HIV infections: referred to as Treatment as Prevention.

The MaxART programme uniquely brings together a comprehensive group of multidisciplinary stakeholders by combining government programs, global and local networks of people living with HIV, academic institutions, and local and international NGOs. It contributes to the current National Programme.

MaxART has catalysed a breakthrough in Swaziland and is expected to act as a model for other Southern African countries. Read more about MaxART’s objectives

The programme has been implemented in two phases: