Burkina Faso has the second highest seroprevalence rate for HIV in West Africa, estimated at 6.5% of the population. Although it is one of the poorest countries in the world, antiretrovirals have been used on an extremely limited basis in Burkina Faso since at least the early 1990s. In this article we will review the evolution of antiretroviral availability in this country, describe the mechanisms by which drugs are being accessed, and review our experience with expanding antiretroviral access through drug donations in community-based settings. Finally, we will discuss some of the implications for future attempts to expand access to treatment for people living with HIV in Africa.