Tanzania is one of the countries hard hit by HIV/AIDS epidemic. Recent reports from the Ministry of Health indicate that since the first 3 cases were reported in 1983 a total 118,713 cases have been reported from health facilities in the country by the end of the year 1999. It is however estimated that cumulatively about 600,000 have developed HIV/AIDS, and about 2 million people have been infected with the HIV/AIDS virus.

The report also shows that 70.5 percent of new HIV infections are in the 25 - 49 age group and 15 percent in the 15 - 24 age group. About 72,000 newborn babies were infected with HIV in 1999. It is estimated that there are over 600,000 orphans due to HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS has now become the primary cause of death among adults in the country and is decimating the most productive age group leaving behind misery, suffering and poverty. HIV/AIDS epidemic is a big social and economic problem with devastating impact on national development. It is against this background that President Benjamin William Mkapa in his New Year Message on the 31st December 1999, called the epidemic "an extraordinary crisis that requires extra-ordinary measures to deal with it".

The President's speech echoed the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Tanzania and the need for a multi-sectoral approach in the fight against it. To effect that, on 1st December 2000, the President announced the formation of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS.

tacaid was first established by the announcement made by the President on 1 December 2000. The other step taken to establish tacaid was by the enactment of a law establishing Tanzania Commission for AIDS, Act No. 22 of 2001 by the Parliament. These steps were taken so as to ensure that the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania has an institution that is legally mandated to provide strategic leadership and to coordinate and strengthen efforts of all stakeholders involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS.