Act against Aids

"Treating HIV is an undertaking that spans several generations"

On 1 July 2016, Swiss Aids Care Inter­na­tional was renamed as the Ruedi Lüthy Foundation. Chief Executive Sabine Lüthy ex­plains the reasons behind the name change, and what it means for the future.

The foundation was set up some 13 years ago, and has become well-estab­lished in the mean­time. Why decide to change the name now?
Our primary objective is to secure the future of the foun­da­tion. Swiss Aids Care Inter­na­tional was at times being confused with other or­ga­ni­sa­tions, and the name wasn't really gener­ating reso­nance. Most of our donors and the public associate our work directly with my father, Ruedi Lüthy, who set up the foun­dation and the clinic. The new name under­scores our commit­ment to continuing the foun­dation's work in keeping with his vision and ideals over the long term, while at the same time posi­tioning it clearly among the other foun­dations in Switzerland.

Will there also be a re­align­ment in the foun­dation's activities?
Since it was set up in 2003, our foun­dation has sought to help destitute HIV patients in Zim­babwe – and we will continue to do so. With 1.6 million people living with HIV infection and 40,000 deaths from Aids every year, this is unfortu­nately still desper­ately needed. The three main­stays of our approach are treating patients, training local health­care workers, and clinical research. The new name will not change this in any way. On the contrary, it is a promise that we will stay resolutely focused on the original goals and Ruedi Lüthy's philosophy. Since the treat­ment of HIV/Aids patients is an under­taking that spans several gener­ations, it is essential that our work continues for a long time to come.

Does this mean Ruedi Lüthy is about to step down?
o, he remains the Medical Director of Newlands Clinic and also a member of the Board of Trustees. He is respon­sible for the treatment concept as well as the training of both our own medical team and health­care workers from other clinics. Looking to the future, we are seeking to coop­er­ate closely with a Swiss hospital, since it is important that the latest find­ings regard­ing HIV therapy are continually incor­po­rated in our work in Zim­babwe, and that quality controls meet Swiss stan­dards.

As well as a new name, the foun­dation also has a new visual identity. Why?
Our existing profile dated back to 2003 and no longer met our require­ments with regard to com­mu­ni­cating with donors and the public. The new name presented the ideal opportunity for making changes here too. We want to present a com­pre­hensive and transparent insight into our work in Zim­babwe – this is at the very heart of what we do. We are delighted with our new ap­pear­ance, and hope our donors are equally pleased with the results.