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AIDS in the World

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  • Bell, Elizabeth
    African Health Agencies Fear U.S. Funding Ban Will Cripple Efforts to Fight AIDS Philadelphia Inquirer (www.philly.com) (01/25/01); Maykuth, Andrew The new
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 30, 2001
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      "African Health Agencies Fear U.S. Funding Ban Will Cripple
      Efforts to Fight AIDS"
      Philadelphia Inquirer (www.philly.com) (01/25/01); Maykuth,
      Andrew
      The new abortion restrictions President Bush has placed on U.S.
      foreign aid has many international health agencies concerned
      about providing other kinds of health care, such as HIV
      prevention and sexually transmitted disease (STD) screening. On
      Monday, Bush reinstated a law that strictly prohibits American
      foreign aid from being distributed to any organizations that
      "perform or promote" abortions. Patricia Sears, of the
      Washington-based Center for Development and Population
      Activities, feels this curtailing of funds because of the
      abortion stipulation will have broad negative effects. In India,
      where abortion is legal, Sears notes that there is a health
      clinic where family planning and HIV education take place on one
      side--funded by the United States, European donors, and private
      foundations--and abortions are performed on the other side.
      According to Sears, Bush's new order would keep the AIDS
      education and family planning program from receiving U.S. funds
      because of its association with the abortion clinic.

      "Rwanda Set to Clinch Cut-Price AIDS Drugs Deal"
      Reuters (www.reuters.com) (01/25/01)
      Ben Plumley, an official with UNAIDS, said Thursday that Rwanda
      is very close to finalizing a deal for lower-priced AIDS drugs
      with GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, and Boehringer
      Ingelheim. The prices for their antiretroviral drugs will likely
      be between 60 percent and 90 percent lower than those charged to
      the rest of the world, similar to deals already created with
      Senegal and Uganda, said Plumley. An initiative was created in
      May 2000 to develop a low-price AIDS drugs system for those
      countries most in need, but progress has been slow as drug
      companies insist on safeguards to prevent the low cost drugs from
      flowing back into Western countries and undercutting the higher
      prices there.

      "Gates Makes Large AIDS Pledge"
      Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com) (01/28/01) P. A23
      As the first HIV vaccine specifically designed for Africa
      awaits human clinical trials, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates has
      personally pledged $100 million towards ongoing research. His
      private initiative to jumpstart the program, is a reaction to the
      market failure of the past 20 years in the development of an
      effective vaccine for the world's estimated 5 million
      HIV-infected people. Rising to Gates' challenge to the rich and
      powerful at the World Economic Forum, the first corporate sponsor
      of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, online company
      Yahoo, Inc., has pledged $5 million over the next three years.

      "Kenya Approves AIDS Vaccine Human Trials"
      Australian Broadcasting Corporation Online (www.abc.net.au)
      (01/29/01)
      The government of Kenya has given the final approval to begin
      human clinical trials of a new HIV vaccine in Africa. Still in
      the early stages, the vaccine is a joint venture of researchers
      from Britain and Kenya. British human trials are underway, but
      it will be five years before the vaccine is ready for use. Bill
      Gates, chairman of Microsoft, has donated nearly $200 million to
      bolster the clinical trial program.

      "Mbeki Agrees Drug Plan for HIV Babies"
      Financial Times (www.ft.com) (01/27/01); Dynes, Michael
      South Africa's President Mbeki has backed down on his
      previous controversial statement of refusing to believe that AIDS
      is caused by HIV, and has approved a program to treat patients for
      free with the expensive HIV drugs. The program would provide
      drug therapy to HIV-positive pregnant women and victims of rape
      in an attempt to stop the increasing number of mother-to-infant
      infections. It is estimated that more than 70,000 HIV-positive
      infants are born each year in South Africa. Mbeki's program will
      include the use of the drug nevirapine and involved eighteen
      state hospitals to provide free HIV testing for pregnant women,
      medication, and infant milk. His earlier refusal of providing
      free antiretroviral drugs stemmed from the cost and the side
      effects, threatening legal action against anyone who provided the
      drugs. Mbeki's government position on the cause of AIDS still
      has not changed, but his latest move provided some hope for those
      embroiled in the battle against the spread of the disease, which
      has effected nearly 10 per cent of the South African population.

      "Look at Brazil"
      New York Times Magazine (www.nytimes.com) (01/28/01) P. 26;
      Rosenberg, Tina
      AIDS in Africa will nearly destroy the continent's economy, may
      cause war, and is killing millions of people each year. Such a
      severe plague has not been seen since Europe's 14th century Black
      Death, and it has taken 17 million lives so far--with more to
      come. Meanwhile, AIDS is racing through other areas, including
      India, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet
      Union, among others. Until recently, the triple drug therapy
      used to control AIDS was considered realistic only for the
      wealthy or those in societies that could pay for the drugs for
      victims. Poorer nations could only try to prevent new cases and
      treat some infections. Now, however, things are changing. In
      Brazil, poor AIDS patients get antiretrovirals for free, and have
      since 1997. The country has built a network of AIDS clinics and
      has proven that its uneducated population is quite able to take
      medicine on time. Brazil's treatment program has cut in half the
      AIDS death rate, prevented many new hospitalizations, reduced the
      transmission rate, helped to stabilize the epidemic, and has
      improved the general state of public health. The nation can
      afford all the drugs because it does not pay market prices--it
      copies brand-name drugs, reducing the price by an average 79
      percent. Various international organizations are beginning to
      help countries try to reproduce Brazil's program, and Brazil has
      offered technology and training to other nations that will supply
      the drugs to patients for free. Meanwhile, the drug companies
      are beginning to make limited offers of cheap drugs. Other
      countries can reproduce Brazil's success with international help.
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