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Re: [ujeni] AIDS in Africa

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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 1 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 2 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)
        (12/05/00)
        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 3 of 29 , Feb 15, 2001
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          "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 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 4 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
            seriously."
            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
            lives."


            "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 5 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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