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AIDS in Africa

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  • 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 1 of 29 , Sep 8, 2000
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      (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 2 of 29 , Sep 8, 2000
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        "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 3 of 29 , Sep 10, 2000
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          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 4 of 29 , Nov 8, 2000
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            "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 5 of 29 , Nov 21, 2000
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              "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 6 of 29 , Nov 28, 2000
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                "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 7 of 29 , Nov 30, 2000
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                  "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 8 of 29 , Nov 30, 2000
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                    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 9 of 29 , Dec 1, 2000
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                      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 10 of 29 , Dec 8, 2000
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                        "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 11 of 29 , Feb 15 11:21 AM
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                          "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 12 of 29 , May 2, 2001
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                            "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 13 of 29 , Jul 30, 2001
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                              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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