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AIDS in Africa

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  • Bell, Elizabeth
    African Leaders to Meet Annan, Discuss Flash Points Reuters (www.reuters.com) (09/05/00); Mseteka, Buchizya The presidents of South Africa, Malawi, Namibia,
    Message 1 of 29 , Sep 5, 2000
      "African Leaders to Meet Annan, Discuss Flash Points"
      Reuters (www.reuters.com) (09/05/00); Mseteka, Buchizya
      The presidents of South Africa, Malawi, Namibia, and Zimbabwe
      will meet with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today
      to discuss war, debt relief, and AIDS in their countries.
      According to analysts, Africa's huge debt load has forced many
      countries to spend more on debt problems than on health issues
      like AIDS. U.N. statistics indicate that Africa needs at least
      $3 billion annually to battle AIDS.

      "AIDS Activists Take South African Government to Court"
      Lancet (www.thelancet.com) (08/26/00) Vol. 356, No. 9231, P. 746;
      Baleta, Adele
      South African AIDS activists plan to take their government to
      court because it refuses to provide HIV-positive pregnant women
      with drugs to help prevent vertical transmission of HIV. The
      Treatment Action Campaign set an August 18 deadline for the
      health department to change its policies on treating pregnant
      women. After no response, legal action is expected. Health
      Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang recently announced that clinics
      will be chosen for research into nevirapine's use in protecting
      newborns from HIV. Antiretroviral drugs are only available in
      South Africa on a trial basis at selected sites. After the big
      AIDS conference in July, activists had hoped that a shift in
      policy would take place. The health department has offered
      several reasons for not providing the drugs, including toxicity
      and their high price.
    • Bell, Elizabeth
      (a major step forward from Mugabe) Mugabe Announces That AIDS Had Killed Ministers PANA Wire Service (www.africanews.org/PANA) (09/07/00) Zimbabwe s
      Message 2 of 29 , Sep 8, 2000
        (a major step forward from Mugabe)

        "Mugabe Announces That AIDS Had Killed Ministers"
        PANA Wire Service (www.africanews.org/PANA) (09/07/00)
        Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe, told participants at the
        United Nations Millennium Summit this week that three of his
        cabinet ministers and many traditional chiefs have died from AIDS
        in the last several years. Mugabe asked for international help
        to fight the disease, which is taking the lives of an estimated
        2,000 Zimbabweans a week. Mugabe, who also noted he has lost a
        "countless number" of extended family members to AIDS, encouraged
        global participation to halt the epidemic.

        "Trade in Infected Blood Raises International Furor"
        Reuters Health Information Services (www.reutershealth.com)
        (09/06/00); Kumar, Sanjay
        Austrian, Swiss, and U.K. officials are trying to track down
        blood plasma contaminated with HIV, hepatitis C, and syphilis,
        that was allegedly sold by South African firms to brokers in
        Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Authorities fear that
        brokers have been selling relabeled contaminated blood products
        to various countries for over 10 years. A recent confidential
        investigation conducted by South Africa's Department of Health
        determined that infected blood plasma not suitable for human use
        had been exported within the past decade. Although he noted that
        more information is needed about the situation, Dr. Luc Noel--the
        coordinator of blood transfusion safety for the World Health
        Organization--said that anyone who relabels unsafe blood
        products, thus putting others at risk, should be punished.
      • Bell, Elizabeth
        U.S. Efforts on HIV/AIDS and Infectious Diseases U.S. Newswire (www.usnewswire.com) (09/08/00) The Clinton administration has released a statement showing
        Message 3 of 29 , Sep 8, 2000
          "U.S. Efforts on HIV/AIDS and Infectious Diseases"
          U.S. Newswire (www.usnewswire.com) (09/08/00)

          The Clinton administration has released a statement showing its
          strong support for United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's
          call for international action to fight HIV. The statement notes
          that the White House also backs Annan's recommendation that
          health research be focused on issues that affect the majority of
          the world's people. AIDS, for example, took the lives of 2.8
          million people in 1999, while millions continue to die from
          vaccine-preventable infections and many more die from disease
          which still need vaccines, including AIDS and malaria. The
          statement also lists actions the administration has taken that
          support the recommendations of the U.N. Millennium Report in
          terms of the threat of global disease issues.
        • John Spurlock Romweber
          Howdy to all of you in ujeni world. I am sending this lettle update as I am changing all of my addresses. Email jsrinbf@hotmail.com. Snailmail is
          Message 4 of 29 , Sep 10, 2000
            Howdy to all of you in ujeni world. I am sending this lettle update as I
            am changing all of my addresses. Email jsrinbf@.... Snailmail is
            jsr/BP110/Kaya/Burkina Faso. I have to mosey off to the A's game
            now...the mighty Devil Rays are in town. Love to all.

          • Bell, Elizabeth
            Nurse in Malawi Wages War on AIDS and Apathy New York times (www.nytimes.com) (11/07/00) P. A12; Crossette, Barbara Nurse Catherine Phiri of Malawi
            Message 5 of 29 , Nov 8, 2000
              "Nurse in Malawi Wages War on AIDS and Apathy"
              New York times (www.nytimes.com) (11/07/00) P. A12; Crossette,
              Nurse Catherine Phiri of Malawi contracted HIV during the
              rule of Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who prohibited any public discussion
              of the disease. When a democratic government took over in 1994,
              Phiri founded a support group for anyone affected by HIV, and
              last month, she received a Race Against Poverty Award from the
              United Nations Development Program and UNAIDS. Phiri said the
              new president of Malawi, Bakili Muluzi, has helped increase
              awareness about HIV and AIDS. She also noted that the press is
              now free enough to help show residents the extent of the problem
              in the country, where 25 percent of the urban work force is
              expected to die from AIDS within 10 years. Phiri said, "I hope
              that we will be recognized by being given the award, and that the
              government will now have something to do with us. ... I've been
              writing [the president] proposals that have never been answered."
              The three other recipients of the Race Against Povery Awards were
              Maire Bopp Dupont, a radio journalist who has worked to inform
              Pacific islanders about AIDS; Rita Arauz, a Nicaraguan
              psychologist who set up a foundation to study and deal with HIV
              and other sexually transmitted infections; and the Rev. Arkadiusz
              Nowak, a priest who opened the first AIDS hospice in Poland.

              "AIDS Smothers African Kingdom; Swaziland: AIDS Is Destroying a
              Baltimore Sun (www.sunspot.net) (11/04/00) P. 1A; Murphy, John
              Swaziland, located between South Africa and Mozambique, has
              been ineffective at responding to the AIDS epidemic thus far. The
              latest measures involved parliament banning miniskirts in schools
              to reduce sex between teachers and students. AIDS activists in
              Swaziland struggle against the country's traditions and shame
              surrounding AIDS. Out of a population of 1 million, an estimated
              22 percent are infected with HIV, and 40 percent of all pregnant
              women are HIV-positive. According to Christabel Motsa,
              chairwoman of the government's crisis committee on disease,
              people there are afraid to talk about AIDS and deny that it is a
              problem. Tradition is hard to overcome, as the kingdom is ruled
              by a monarch with seven wives. Polygamy is rampant in rural
              areas, and contraceptives are ignored. King Mswati declared HIV
              a national disaster last year and has urged HIV testing, but
              proposals to place HIV-infected people in camps or sterile them
              highlight the mindset of the kingdom. Without frank talk about
              AIDS, little prevention or treatment can be reached. Motsa is
              worried that her group's five-year plan to fight AIDS will be
              overshadowed by odd suggestions from lawmakers. The nation's
              plan will center on AIDS prevention and education of traditional
            • Bell, Elizabeth
              African and US Leaders Sign Agreement on AIDS Reuters Health Information Services (www.reutershealth.com) (11/16/00); Clark, Margaret A. A new document
              Message 6 of 29 , Nov 21, 2000
                "African and US Leaders Sign Agreement on AIDS"
                Reuters Health Information Services (www.reutershealth.com)
                (11/16/00); Clark, Margaret A.
                A new document approved earlier this week by 24 African nations,
                representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, U.S. policy
                advisors, and researchers focuses on fighting AIDS in Africa.
                The document, "Principles of Collaboration: When Confronting AIDS
                in Africa," is expected to serve as a basis for an AIDS alliance
                between the United States and Africa; however, Dr. Richard
                Marlink, head of the Harvard AIDS Institute, which hosted the
                summit, noted that African nations must be the ones to take the
                initiative. The agreement urges African countries to determine
                their needs and set their priorities in terms of AIDS,
                specifically prevention efforts to keep the virus from spreading
                further and treatment for people already infected with HIV.

                "Carter Urges Africans to Take Initiative on AIDS"
                Agence France Presse (www.afp.com) (11/16/00)
                Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter said Thursday that African
                leaders must take the initiative in the war against AIDS, to help
                prevent the destruction of national economies and even entire
                cultures. Carter, writing in the International Herald Tribune
                newspaper, detailed a three-point strategy to help fight the
                epidemic. He noted, "AIDS now exceeds malaria as the single
                leading cause of death [in Africa], turning back the clock on
                hard-won gains in life expectancy achieved by many countries in
                recent decades." Carter's plan calls on heads of state and
                governments to publicly acknowledge the threat of AIDS and
                address the issue on television and radio. The proposal also
                recommends that African nations and international partners focus
                on preventing new cases of HIV and providing affordable medical
                care for those already infected. The last point of Carter's plan
                calls for broad partnerships, because "this problem is bigger
                than any one country, agency, group, or individual."

                "Annan Says TV Should Help Educate Developing World"
                Reuters (www.reuters.com) (11/17/00); Bases, Daniel
                Television should be used to both inform and educate
                people in the developing world, according to United Nations
                Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Annan, speaking at the fifth
                annual U.N. World Television Forum, noted that new information
                technology could help encourage economic growth and also reduce
                poverty. However, he warned that while television can inform
                people about the value of advances like the Internet, it also
                must help with literacy and other basic issues. Harri Holkeri,
                the president of the U.N. General Assembly, also pointed out that
                the new technology can be used to help promote awareness of
                diseases like AIDS in the developing world.
              • Bell, Elizabeth
                HIV s Onslaught Slows Down in Africa USA Today (www.usatoday.com) (11/28/00) P. 11D; Sternberg, Steve A United Nations report to be released today indicates
                Message 7 of 29 , Nov 28, 2000
                  "HIV's Onslaught Slows Down in Africa"
                  USA Today (www.usatoday.com) (11/28/00) P. 11D; Sternberg, Steve
                  A United Nations report to be released today indicates that the
                  number of new HIV case in sub-Saharan Africa dropped slightly
                  this year, although prospects for the region are still grim.
                  UNAIDS head Dr. Peter Piot warned that the decline is "no reason
                  to cry victory. It doesn't make us very optimistic." Possible
                  reasons for why the sub-Saharan epidemic has stabilized, Piot
                  said, could be that prevention efforts may have helped in several
                  nations or that the people at greatest risk of infection have
                  already contracted HIV. Meanwhile in Russia, the number of new
                  HIV infections skyrocketed from 130,000 in 1999 to 300,000 this
                  year. Piot predicted that if this pace of new infections
                  continues, the country could see over 1 million HIV cases by
                  2005. Globally, an estimated 5.3 million people have contracted
                  HIV this year, including 600,000 children aged 15 or younger.
                  Some 72 percent of the new HIV infections are in southern Africa.

                  "U.N. Takes AIDS Battle to Internet"
                  Atlanta Journal-Constitution (www.accessatlanta.com) (11/28/00)
                  P. 5C; McKenna, M.A.J.
                  As the number of HIV infections worldwide continues to soar, an
                  online project of the United Nations Development Program offers a
                  suggestion for how people can help. Located at www.NetAid.org,
                  the site focuses primarily on extreme poverty; however, an
                  HIV/AIDS program was recently added. The program asks for
                  donations to buy "kits"--specific amounts for supplies, training,
                  and transportation--to help fight AIDS in Third World nations.
                  The site provides detailed data sheets for every project and a
                  "donation counter" to show how much has been donated and spent
                  for each program.

                  "[AIDS in South Africa]"
                  Christian Science Monitor (www.csmonitor.com) (11/24/00) P. 24
                  A recent insurance industry conference in Cape Town warned that
                  unless aggressive measures are taken to stem the spread of HIV
                  and to improve treatment for those already infected, AIDS will
                  take the life of one South African every minute within five
                  years. According to a statement from Lifeworks, an industry
                  organization established to deal with AIDS, the disease is "the
                  single most strategic issue facing our economy."
                • Bell, Elizabeth
                  South African Village Prepares for First HIV Vaccine Trial Nature Medicine (medicine.nature.com) (11/00) Vol. 6, No. 11, P. 1199; Connett, Harold South
                  Message 8 of 29 , Nov 30, 2000
                    "South African Village Prepares for First HIV Vaccine Trial"
                    Nature Medicine (medicine.nature.com) (11/00) Vol. 6, No. 11, P.
                    1199; Connett, Harold
                    South Africa's Medical Research Council plans to begin HIV
                    vaccine trials in February 2001, with phase III tests slated for
                    completion by 2005. The trial will test a Venezuelan equine
                    encephalitis (VEE) virus vaccine, which uses an attenuated form
                    of VEE with genes from subtype C isolates of South African
                    seroconverters. Robert Olmstead, vice president at AlphaVax the
                    vaccine producer, said that VEE targets lymphoid tissue and will
                    be a good source. The South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative is
                    funding development of the vaccine, together with the U.S.
                    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the
                    International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. Informing trial subjects
                    regarding the vaccine has been a careful process, requiring the
                    trust of South African tribal leaders. Hlabisa, which is located
                    about four hours from Durban, is the site of the phase II and III
                    trials. Health workers have been training educators to reach the
                    Hlabisa area, using song and dance to communicate HIV prevention messages.

                    "New Cases of HIV Decline in Africa for First Time"
                    Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com) (11/29/00) P. A3; Brown,
                    A new report from UNAIDS indicates that the number of people who
                    contracted HIV in sub-Saharan Africa declined this year for the
                    first time. Officials noted, however, that the finding must be
                    interpreted with caution, because it is not known whether the
                    drop is an actual turning point or just something temporary.
                    "The least we can say is that the trend of an accelerating
                    epidemic is now slowing down, and perhaps going down," said Dr.
                    Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS. Worldwide, there were
                    5.3 million new HIV infections this year, compared to 5.6 million
                    in 1999. The number of people living with HIV or AIDS increased
                    from 33.6 million last year to 36.1 million this year, while the
                    number of deaths from the disease also rose, from 2.6 million to
                    3 million. The report showed the Eastern Europe and the former
                    Soviet Union saw substantial increases in HIV cases, rising from
                    420,000 in 1999 to 700,000 now. Furthermore, UNAIDS' estimates
                    indicate that more than 50 percent of Russia's 300,000 people
                    with HIV contracted the disease this year. "What we had
                    predicted and fear is now happening," said Piot, "and that is an
                    explosion of HIV."

                    "U.N. Requests $3 Billion From Western Governments to Combat AIDS
                    Crisis in Africa"
                    Philadelphia Inquirer (www.philly.com) (11/29/00); Collins,
                    Western governments need to give $3 billion a year for the next
                    five years to fight the growing AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan
                    Africa, the United Nations said Tuesday. Also, during a
                    teleconference with AIDS activists in South Africa and the United
                    States, the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders
                    called on the five top drug firms to reduce the prices of their
                    AIDS drugs in poor nations by 95 percent starting in January. In
                    response, pharmaceutical industry spokesman Mark Grayson said
                    they have already made a deal with Senegal for price cuts and
                    similar agreements are planned for other countries in Africa. A
                    new "report card" for the drug firms shows that American AIDS
                    activists gave the companies failing grades on their vows to
                    increase access to lifesaving drugs for poor people in Africa.

                    "Pfizer Offers AIDS Drug to South Africa"
                    Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com) (11/29/00) P. A3; Zimmerman,
                    Pfizer is expected to announce on December 1, World AIDS Day,
                    that it will donate $50 million worth of its antifungal drug
                    Diflucan, which is used by many AIDS patients, to South Africa
                    over two years. New statistics from the United Nations and the
                    World Health Organization show there were 3.8 million new HIV
                    infections in sub-Saharan Africa last year and that about 70
                    percent of all HIV-infected adults worldwide live in the region.
                    Under the deal, Pfizer would provide Diflucan free of charge to
                    individuals with cryptococcal meningitis and a kind of meningitis
                    of the esophagus that results from thrush and affects between 20
                    percent and 40 percent of AIDS patients. South African and U.S.
                    AIDS activists, as well as the humanitarian group Doctors Without
                    Borders, have criticized the drug company's offer, calling it a
                    public-relations move that will likely include several
                    restrictions on the drug's distribution.

                    "South Africa: Benefit of Anti-Retrovirals Outweigh the Risks--US
                    Surgeon General"
                    Africa News Service (www.africanews.org) (11/29/00); Harvey,
                    U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher stated Tuesday that the
                    benefits of antiretroviral treatments outweigh any risks
                    involved. Speaking at a press briefing in Pretoria, Satcher said
                    the drugs have been especially useful in preventing
                    mother-to-child HIV transmission in the United States, and also
                    for treating people with AIDS. The price of the drugs is high,
                    Satcher admitted, and he noted that South Africa and the United
                    States are in very different situations regarding the
                    affordability of the medicines. The surgeon general did say,
                    however, that Brazil is in a very "similar [socioeconomic] place"
                    to South Africa, and that country's government has established
                    the necessary infrastructure to provide the drugs and also
                    reduced the price of the treatments by manufacturing them
                    locally. The briefing was for the Health Working Group of the
                    US-SA Bi-National Commission's special meeting on HIV/AIDS, which
                    was chaired by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and
                    Satcher. The two officials signed a joint agreement for better
                    financial and political cooperation on AIDS.

                    "South Africa: Truckers Take to the Road for AIDS"
                    Africa News Service (www.africanews.org) (11/29/00); Harvey,
                    On Friday, World AIDS Day, 100 truck drivers will participate in
                    a special procession to South Africa's Department of Transport,
                    to highlight the spread of HIV infection among drivers in the
                    country. According to Marlea Clarke, a University of Capetown
                    researcher, three truck drivers die every day from AIDS-related
                    conditions. There are concerns that the drivers could be one of
                    the groups that have a key role on the spread of the virus in
                    South Africa, as prostitutes line major highways. Clarke noted
                    that the average truck driver spends three days or less at home
                    every month, and "there is [a] flourishing commercial sex network
                    along the freeway system in the region." Clarke said that mine
                    workers, who also visit sex workers frequently, are at risk for
                    HIV infection as well.
                  • Sara Hersey
                    I have a research question for anybody interested in the following article that Liz posted. How can UNAIDS measure new HIV infections with such authority?
                    Message 9 of 29 , Nov 30, 2000
                      I have a research question for anybody interested in the following article
                      that Liz posted. How can UNAIDS measure 'new' HIV infections with such
                      authority? Slightly sceptical but also interested in how they come about
                      these numbers - if anyone can enlighten me.

                      >"New Cases of HIV Decline in Africa for First Time"
                      >Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com) (11/29/00) P. A3; Brown,
                      > A new report from UNAIDS indicates that the number of people who
                      >contracted HIV in sub-Saharan Africa declined this year for the
                      >first time. Officials noted, however, that the finding must be
                      >interpreted with caution, because it is not known whether the
                      >drop is an actual turning point or just something temporary.
                      >"The least we can say is that the trend of an accelerating
                      >epidemic is now slowing down, and perhaps going down," said Dr.
                      >Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS. Worldwide, there were
                      >5.3 million new HIV infections this year, compared to 5.6 million
                      >in 1999. The number of people living with HIV or AIDS increased
                      >from 33.6 million last year to 36.1 million this year, while the
                      >number of deaths from the disease also rose, from 2.6 million to
                      >3 million. The report showed the Eastern Europe and the former
                      >Soviet Union saw substantial increases in HIV cases, rising from
                      >420,000 in 1999 to 700,000 now. Furthermore, UNAIDS' estimates
                      >indicate that more than 50 percent of Russia's 300,000 people
                      >with HIV contracted the disease this year. "What we had
                      >predicted and fear is now happening," said Piot, "and that is an
                      >explosion of HIV."

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                    • Paul DEVER
                      They go to a hospital this year on this day. They count the AIDS victims. Then they come back next month, next year, etc., and count the umber of cases, minus
                      Message 10 of 29 , Nov 30, 2000
                        They go to a hospital this year on this day. They count the AIDS victims.
                        Then they come back next month, next year, etc., and count the umber of
                        cases, minus the number who have died, then they have their new
                        number...Very scientific, just like their extrapolations of 33% infection
                        among city dwellers they were tossing around about five years back.

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                      • Bell, Elizabeth
                        AIDS Drugs for Africa Scientific American (www.sciam.com) (11/00) Vol. 283, No. 5, P. 98; Ezzell, Carol The AIDS epidemic in Africa faces many obstacles, but
                        Message 11 of 29 , Dec 8, 2000
                          "AIDS Drugs for Africa"
                          Scientific American (www.sciam.com) (11/00) Vol. 283, No. 5, P.
                          98; Ezzell, Carol
                          The AIDS epidemic in Africa faces many obstacles, but the
                          chief one is finding affordable antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV
                          transmission to newborns and to treat those already infected.
                          Most developed nations now routinely offer antiviral therapies to
                          HIV-infected mothers; however, there are few clinics in Africa
                          that can offer the drugs to these women. Cost is a determining
                          factor, as the drugs often cost more than many Africans'
                          salaries. Five companies have agreed to cut their drug prices to
                          Africa by 80 percent, but that alone will not be a solution.
                          According to David Bloom, a professor at Harvard University
                          School of Public Health, AIDS is tied into poverty and a lack of
                          health infrastructure. Lower drug costs must be accompanied by
                          testing to measure the drugs' success in each patient. Rampant
                          poverty in South Africa makes the drug AZT unattainable. With
                          the help of a discounted price, AZT costs 40 cents for each
                          100-milligram pill. Nevirapine is another drug that offers hope
                          to prevent HIV transmission to infants. It requires only three
                          doses and has been shown to reduce transmission to 14 percent for
                          a trial of 652 pregnant women. AZT, by contrast, requires months
                          of treatment. South Africa has not accepted an offer of
                          nevirapine from Boehringer Ingelheim, as Health Minister Manto
                          Tshabalala-Msimang said they do not believe the only answer to
                          AIDS is antiretroviral therapy. The government's plan to prevent
                          HIV is to treat AIDS-related infections, and form home-based
                          care, she said. Tshabalala-Msimang noted that even an 80 percent
                          reduction in price would still not be affordable for the 4.2
                          million HIV-infected individuals in South Africa. If the issue
                          of price is ever overcome, patients would then face the need for
                          resistance testing. HIV's ability to mutate quickly requires
                          careful monitoring of a patient's therapy. Testing CD4 cells and
                          viral load is expensive, however, and not stressed in places like
                          Thailand. Christopher Ouma, a worker for Doctors Without Borders
                          in Nairobi, Kenya, believes Africa cannot wait for viral load
                          testing to become the norm, since they need the drugs now. And
                          even after antivirals become widely available to Africa, the
                          trick will be adhering to the difficult therapy, which requires a
                          strict timetable and food requirements.

                          "U.N.'s Annan Demands War Against AIDS in Africa"
                          Reuters (www.reuters.com) (12/07/00); Murray, Kieran
                          Speaking at a conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, United
                          Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said African leaders must make
                          fighting AIDS their top priority. Annan noted that the disease
                          has taken the lives of millions of people, and it is also a key
                          impediment to fighting poverty in the developing world and could
                          affect political stability. The official called for concerted,
                          comprehensive action against AIDS; however, he pointed out that
                          while the world is prepared to spend billions of dollars battling
                          the disease, African officials must work to make sure the money
                          goes where it is needed most. Annan also said that while the
                          majority of AIDS cases are in Africa, the disease is also
                          spreading rapidly in Eastern Europe, Russia, and India, and these
                          regions could face a situation like the one in Africa unless
                          aggressive steps are taken.

                          "More Evidence Supports Congo as the World's HIV-1 Epicenter"
                          Reuters Health Information Services (www.reutershealth.com)
                          A team of researchers from France, Congo, and the United
                          Kingdom has identified a high level of genetic diversity within
                          HIV-1 group M in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The scientists
                          studied 247 HIV-1 isolates from three parts of the country and
                          characterized them for diversity within the HIV-1 envelope
                          protein V3-V5 region. According to their report in the Journal
                          of Virology (2000;74:10498-10507), the most common subtype was
                          subtype A; however, all known HIV-1 group M subtypes were
                          identified in the samples. The researchers, noting a high level
                          of intrasubtype genetic diversity in the isolates and high levels
                          of possible recombinant viruses, said the findings lend support
                          to Congo being the epicenter of HIV-1 group M viruses.

                          "Bottled Up: As UNICEF Battles Baby-Formula Makers, African
                          Infants Sicken"
                          Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com) (12/05/00) P. A1; Freedman,
                          Alix M.; Stecklow, Steve
                          Between 1.1 million and 1.7 million infants, mostly in Africa,
                          have contracted HIV from breast-feeding. Often in the developing
                          world, HIV-infected mothers are not told that infant formula is
                          an alternative to breast-feeding that could help protect their
                          children from AIDS. The issue has pitted the $3 billion
                          infant-formula industry, which says it is prepared to donate
                          loads of free formula to infected women, against UNICEF, which
                          will not approve the donations because it does not want to
                          support an industry that it has accused of abusive practices in
                          developing nations. During the 1970s, Nestle SA and other
                          formula companies aggressively promoted formula in developing
                          nations; however, by the time the free samples were used up, the
                          women were often no longer producing their own milk and the
                          formula was too expensive for them to buy. As some women diluted
                          the milk to make it last longer and some babies starved as a
                          result, a global boycott of Nestle was organized by activists and
                          UNICEF began to reject cash donations from any of the large
                          formula makers--something it has also done with land mine
                          producers and cigarette companies. In the 1980s, UNICEF and the
                          World Health Organization developed a voluntary marketing code
                          for formula makers, one which restricted advertising and
                          virtually prohibited the distribution of free and low-cost
                          formula. But that code was not developed with the AIDS epidemic
                          in mind, and many experts say UNICEF should look past previous
                          events to help poor mothers with HIV and their babies. However,
                          UNICEF head Carol Bellamy asserts that "breast is best," and she
                          points out that the lack of adequate sanitation in many areas
                          poses its own risks for formula users, possibly exposing babies
                          to diarrhea and other deadly diseases, while antibodies in breast
                          milk could help prevent such illnesses. Research indicates that
                          about 15 percent of HIV-infected pregnant women in Africa will
                          transmit the virus to their infants via breast-feeding. UNICEF
                          officials have also voiced concerns that giving formula to
                          HIV-infected mothers could affect support for breast-feeding
                          among healthy mothers. Two years ago, UNICEF and other United
                          Nations agencies modified their position on breast-feeding in the
                          developing world. The "informed choice" policy holds that
                          infected women should be told about the benefits and risks of
                          breast-feeding and of alternatives like formula, but the
                          statement does not say how poor HIV-infected women who want to
                          use formula are supposed to obtain it.
                        • Bell, Elizabeth
                          Suddenly, a Plan to Treat AIDS in Africa Boston Globe (www.boston.com/globe) (02/13/01) P. A1; Donnelly, John In response to the recent pricing drop for AIDS
                          Message 12 of 29 , Feb 15, 2001
                            "Suddenly, a Plan to Treat AIDS in Africa"
                            Boston Globe (www.boston.com/globe) (02/13/01) P. A1; Donnelly,
                            In response to the recent pricing drop for AIDS drug cocktails in
                            the world's poorest nations, economists, scientists, AIDS
                            specialists and politicians have designed a "blueprint" for
                            treatment to be used in countries where the greatest need is.
                            The blueprint calls for wealthy nations to pay for the drugs,
                            paring the price of AIDS cocktails down to $500 annually per
                            patient, and the selection of two African nations and more than
                            one dozen projects to be set up as working models. When
                            successful, the models could be replicated and repeated across
                            Africa. Initially, the projects will focus only on individuals
                            with full-blown AIDS, and the plan also calls for piggybacking
                            treatment with existing tuberculosis-control programs.

                            "World Bank Grants $473 Million Loan to Ethiopia"
                            Reuters (www.reuters.com) (02/14/01)
                            Ethiopia has been granted a $473 million loan from the World Bank
                            to aid in the nation's post-war efforts to rebuild. According to
                            Wednesday's announcement by the ministry of finance, $65 million
                            of the loan will be used toward the fight against HIV. An
                            estimated 3 million Ethiopians have HIV or AIDS.

                            "South Africa Mining Firms Test Workers for AIDS"
                            Reuters (www.reuters.com) (02/13/01); Swindells, Steven
                            Anglo American Platinum, a major South African mining firm,
                            has gained the union's approval to begin testing miners in the
                            country for HIV. The results of the anonymous testing is
                            expected to have a significant impact on the overall mining
                            business, which represents the majority of Africa's foreign
                            exchange revenue. Economic consultants from WEFA South Africa
                            estimate that 4 million semi- and unskilled South African
                            laborers could die from the disease between 2010 and 2015, with
                            the most significant impact among miners. Health experts said
                            Tuesday that an estimated 25 percent of South Africa's 500,000
                            miners may be infected with HIV.

                            "Zambia: Government Sets Aside K31 Billion for AIDS Fight"
                            Africa News Service (www.africanews.org) (02/13/01)
                            Zambia's finance and economic development deputy minister Godfrey
                            Simasiku said the government has earmarked 31 billion kwacha for
                            the battle against AIDS. Simasiku, speaking to group of
                            businessmen and civic leaders at a budget meeting in Solwezi last
                            Friday, also said that the number of AIDS orphans in the country
                            could increase from about 700,000 now to 1 million in the next
                            four to five years.
                          • Bell, Elizabeth
                            Toward a Global AIDS Fund New York Times (05.02.01) The public attention given in recent months to Africa s AIDS crisis has not been matched with money,
                            Message 13 of 29 , May 2, 2001
                              "Toward a Global AIDS Fund"
                              New York Times (05.02.01)
                              "The public attention given in recent months to Africa's
                              AIDS crisis has not been matched with money," began the editors.
                              "Last year the world spent about $1 billion on AIDS in
                              developing countries-a sum that will not even buy adequate
                              prevention campaigns, much less health infrastructure, care for
                              AIDS orphans and necessary medicines for the sick." The editors
                              noted UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's speech last week at the
                              African AIDS summit in Nigeria, which "lays out a solid basis
                              for a global attack on AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria." In his
                              speech, Annan called for a global AIDS fund totaling $7 billion
                              to $10 billion a year to help stem the epidemic.
                              The editors projected how a global AIDS fund would be used.
                              "At least initially," they wrote, "a large part of the money
                              will go toward building a health infrastructure in the African
                              nations most ravaged by AIDS." The editors are encouraged that
                              "African leaders from 43 nations have pledged to increase their
                              spending on health, and especially on AIDS," which "is a welcome
                              sign that African leaders are taking AIDS and health issues more
                              But the global AIDS fund will depend on more than Africa's
                              commitment to improving its AIDS-fighting programs, and the
                              editors fear that US contributions won't be enough. "The global
                              AIDS fund ... is likely to be handicapped by a lack of leadership
                              from the United States. While Bush administration officials speak
                              about AIDS as a catastrophe, the president's 2002 budget adds
                              less than 10 percent to this year's spending for AIDS overseas....
                              Former President Clinton suggested to the Nigeria AIDS conference
                              that Washington should provide a quarter of the global AIDS fund.
                              President Bush's budget falls more than $1 billion short of
                              that," the editors concluded.

                              "First Rule of AIDS in Africa: Do No Harm"
                              Wall Street Journal (05.02.01) Holman W Jenkins, Jr
                              The editorial addressed the ongoing debate surrounding the
                              pharmaceutical industry's price reductions for AIDS drugs,
                              specifically for those countries in Africa ravaged by the
                              disease. "There is no doubt that a strictly applied drug regimen
                              could prolong millions of African lives, but high prices have
                              nothing to do with why it's not happening," insisted the author.
                              "If Africans and other Third Worlders are left out, it's not
                              because of 'corporate greed' but because there is no price at
                              which they would become customers for antiretroviral therapy,"
                              the author said, citing that several drug companies offered AIDS
                              drugs to African governments at or below manufacturing cost, but
                              "There were no takers."
                              The author discussed the difficulty that delivering and
                              managing drug treatment in Africa would present. He quoted a
                              recent issue of Patient Care that concurred: "'Patients need to
                              be told specifically about the serious consequences of
                              nonadherence and that treatment failure may result if even a few
                              doses are missed.'" The author pointed to a San Francisco
                              General Hospital study that found that "anything less than 95%
                              compliance can raise to 50% the chances of treatment failing and
                              a resistant virus emerging." And, "This is to say nothing of the
                              long-term toxicities that have emerged," which include liver
                              failure, kidney failure, a weakening of the bones, nausea,
                              diarrhea, vomiting, lactic acidosis and a skewed fat metabolism.
                              The author also noted how "many of the drugs come with stringent
                              dietary restrictions" that are much easier to adhere to in the
                              Western world where "patients have access to adequate nutrition
                              in sanitary conditions and clean water."
                              "Today's high prices represent not an absence of
                              competition but an absence of piracy," the author continued.
                              Drug companies have brought out 20 antiretrovirals since AZT was
                              introduced, he said, and such "progress doesn't come cheap." He
                              warned in conclusion, "This work will come to a screeching halt
                              if the mau-mau crowd wins the day because recovering [research
                              and development] costs would become impossible. And somewhere
                              down the road lies a drug that really would help save African

                              "What the World Needs Now"
                              POZ (05.01) Gregg Bordowitz
                              Leaders of the three-year-old South Africa-based Treatment
                              Action Campaign (TAC) have succeeded in issuing a wake-up call to
                              governments and pharmaceutical companies around the world. Last
                              July, TAC activists seized the world stage with a massive protest
                              before the AIDS Conference in Durban. In November, TAC led the
                              way to the first-ever waiver allowing importation of a generic
                              medication for South Africa's 4 million people with HIV. And it
                              was TAC's call to make HIV and opportunistic infection medicines
                              available to all HIV-positive South Africans that finally brought
                              drug companies to the negotiating table regarding price
                              reductions for AIDS drugs in developing countries.
                              At TAC's helm is 38-year-old, gay, HIV-positive activist
                              Zackie Achmat, who was jailed and beaten by police for his anti-
                              apartheid efforts in the late 1970s. In October he was arrested
                              and charged with illegal importation of drugs for bringing 5,000
                              capsules of Biozole, the Thai version of Pfizer's patented
                              fluconazole, into South Africa. Yet Achmat refuses to take
                              medications himself. Supporters have offered to purchase
                              antiretroviral drugs for him outright, but he has publicly
                              declared that he will not take any drugs unless they are
                              available to everyone in South Africa. "I have decided not to
                              take antiretrovirals because I don't want to live in a world that
                              devalues the lives of poor people simply because they are poor. I
                              could never look those people in the eye, and I couldn't lead
                              them, if I was taking my medicines while they were going
                              without," Achmat told POZ.
                              Achmat's pledge is a display of the kind of leadership that
                              could turn around the AIDS epidemic. In three short years, TAC
                              has not only pushed the South African government to expand HIV
                              drug access, it has also helped establish an activist network
                              among poor nations producing, procuring and distributing quality
                              medicines despite trade restrictions and drug industry pressure.
                              "It's the activism that pushed my CD4 counts up. It's the fact
                              that I have so many more friends now-people with and without
                              HIV-because they realize that we are doing something together
                              and we can win. Not because of the stand I've taken, but because
                              TAC is giving them hope," Achmat said.

                              "Annan Speaks About the Fight Against AIDS"
                              Associated Press (05.01.01) Gina Cappello
                              "The world has the resources to defeat this epidemic if it
                              really wants to," UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said of the
                              global AIDS epidemic Monday. "But at present, there's a lot of
                              confusion about how the money should be raised, where it should
                              be directed and who can ensure that it's well spent." Annan
                              addressed more than 2,000 philanthropists and business leaders at
                              the 52nd annual conference for the Council on Foundations, urging
                              public and private organizations to work together to fight the
                              spread of HIV and AIDS. Annan once again suggested the creation
                              of a global fund dedicated to the battle against HIV/AIDS and
                              other diseases to be brought before the June 25 special UN
                              session on HIV and AIDS.

                              "IMF Urges Countries to Contribute to AIDS Fund"
                              Associated Press (05.01.01) Harry Dunphy
                              At the conclusion of the spring meetings of the
                              International Monetary Fund and World Bank, finance ministers and
                              central bank governors announced their support for the
                              establishment of a global fund to combat AIDS and other diseases.
                              The ministers pledged there would be a substantial increase in
                              funds to fight AIDS and other infectious diseases in poor
                              countries. "What's clear now is that the commitment is growing
                              by leaps and bounds, particularly among finance ministers in the
                              industrialized countries as we saw this weekend," said Chris
                              Lovelace, director of World Bank's unit for health, population
                              and nutrition.
                            • Bell, Elizabeth
                              I have a new hero: Catholic Bishops to Fight AIDS South African Press Association (07.27.01) Catholic bishops from across southern Africa gathered on
                              Message 14 of 29 , Jul 30, 2001
                                I have a new hero:

                                "Catholic Bishops to Fight AIDS"
                                South African Press Association (07.27.01)
                                Catholic bishops from across southern Africa gathered on
                                Wednesday at St. Peter's Seminary in Garsfontein, Pretoria, to
                                attend the Southern African Catholic Bishop's Conference (SACBC).
                                Bishop Reginald Cawcutt, spokesperson, said the six-day
                                conference was aimed at preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. A
                                substantial part of the conference's discussions will focus on
                                the AIDS and a proposal that the church reconsider its ban on
                                condoms to combat the spread of disease, he said.
                                Almost five million South Africans are HIV-infected. Earlier
                                this month in the United States, Rustenburg Bishop Kevin Dowling
                                proposed that the church's ban on condoms be lifted, saying AIDS
                                was killing so many people he felt he could not duck the issue.
                                Dowling was supported in his proposal by the Catholic newspaper
                                Southern Cross, which said condoms provided one way of stemming
                                the AIDS pandemic. The newspaper called on the church to
                                reconcile its total ban on contraception with the philosophy of
                                the sanctity of life.
                                SACBC President Cardinal Wilfrid Napier said Dowling's
                                statement would be weighed against not only the church's
                                teachings, but also scientific evidence on the effectiveness of
                                condoms in preventing infection. The conference will also focus
                                on Angola, whose government the church has accused of encouraging
                                sexual permissiveness through a recently launched campaign to
                                promote condom use. The conference wraps up on Monday.

                                "World Education Leaders Sound Alarm over AIDS Pandemic"
                                Agence France Presse (07.26.01)
                                The AIDS pandemic has had a bigger effect on teaching than
                                any other profession and threatens to wipe out the trade in
                                Africa within 10 years, a global conference heard Thursday. "The
                                percentage of teachers who have died or carry the HIV virus is
                                higher than for most professional groups," said Fred van
                                Leeuwen, secretary general of Education International (EI). The
                                confederation of about 300 teaching unions and organizations from
                                155 countries is holding a conference in Thailand focusing on
                                teaching in the age of globalization.
                                Some 35-40 percent of secondary school teachers in Botswana
                                are infected with HIV, the EI said. "In the next 10 years, if
                                nothing is done, the ranks of teachers will completely disappear
                                in Africa," said Monique Fouiloux, EI's AIDS specialist. There
                                are also concerns that teachers are abusing their position to
                                sexually exploit children under their care, helping fuel the
                                transmission of the deadly disease. This year in conjunction with
                                other international institutions including UNESCO, EI intends to
                                make AIDS prevention an integral part of its education mission.
                                In the process, it will have to counter significant cultural
                                barriers that hamper frank discussion of AIDS, a problem that is
                                particularly severe outside the cities. "In Botswana, the only
                                place where it is difficult to talk about AIDS is in rural
                                areas," said Japhta Radibe, a representative of the Botwsana
                                Teachers Union. "Even before HIV/AIDS, we had a shortage of
                                teachers, but the pandemic has aggravated it," she said.

                                "AIDS Costs Kenya Heavily"
                                Xinhua (07.27.01)
                                According to Kenya's National AIDS Control Council, the
                                nation is losing about $2.6 million daily to the HIV/AIDS
                                epidemic. Speaking at the Nairobi Provincial AIDS Control
                                Committee workshop this week, Chair Mohammed Abdullah said that
                                certain practices are spreading the disease and his council is
                                now advocating an attitude change and measures to reduce
                                transmission. Chris Kirubi, a council member, urged the
                                government to end and criminalize female genital mutilation and
                                blamed the practice for helping the spread of HIV/AIDS. Other
                                measures recommended include ending prostitution along Nairobi
                                streets and curbing the influx of child prostitutes. Kenya is one
                                of the sub-Saharan African countries hardest hit by AIDS: 1.1
                                million Kenyans have died of the disease since 1984, and 2.2
                                million others are living with HIV.
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