Tanzania is officially committed to providing medicines free of charge through the public sector, but public facilities regularly have gaps in stock. In addition, approximately 75 percent of all Tanzanians live in rural areas where essential drugs and basic medicines are often not available. Many people in need must spend much of their hard-earned money to buy medicines at duka la dawa baridi (private drug shops) in their communities, and the expense can be staggering. For example, a single course of adult treatment for mild pneumonia can cost 18 to 59 percent of a day's wages.

During 2002 alone, 3.1 million people died of AIDS and another 5 million were newly infected. Young people ages 15-24 account for 42 percent of new HIV infections and represent almost one-third of people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.

South Africa is home to the largest number of HIV-positive people in the world. Approximately 3.5 million new HIV infections occurred in sub-Saharan Africa in 2002, with youth and women most infected. To protect their community’s younger generation from the scourge of AIDS and help prevent new infections, some village leaders in South Africa’s impoverished Eastern Cape Province are promoting abstinence.With support from the U.S.