Patents Blamed for the Unaffordable ARVs

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says that restrictive patents on new antiretroviral drugs are hindering their use in developing countries such as South Africa.

MSF access campaign medical director, Nathan Ford, argues that, “The power balance has to change as developing countries begin to make use of their rights to overcome patents, when monopoly sellers price their drugs out of reach.”

AIDS Cure Within 10 Years – UNAIDS

The Joint United Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) believes a cure for AIDS will be found within 10 years.

Speaking at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington in the United States, UNAIDS executive director, Michel Sidibé, says that the current research studies have shown great progress in finding a possible cure for this disease.

Zambia Gets US$100m to Fight AIDS, TB, Malaria

Zambia has successfully secured approximately US$100 million from the Global Fund, an international aid NGO dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.

The country’s Minister of Health, Joseph Kasonde, says government will put in place a system or mechanism that will ensure transparency and accountability in the application of HIV and AIDS, TB, and Malaria resources.

Zambia was awarded this large tranche of funds following under Round 8 Phase 2 of the Global Fund’s allocation process following a long delay due to accountability concerns.

ARV Shortage in Six Provinces

According to a report in the New Age newspaper, at least six provinces are running low on antiretrovirals (ARVs).

The paper further cites one incident in which a patient had to switch medication because the regular ARVs were unavailable.

About 1.7 million people in South Africa are on government’s anti-retroviral treatment (ART) programme.

To read the article titled, “AIDS drug shortage in 6 provinces,” click here.

Children to Get Medical Treatment Abroad

More than 70 Angolan children will travel in the second quarter of May this year to Germany for medical treatment, under cooperation between the German organisation, Friedensdorf International and the Angolan NGO, Kimbo Liombembwa.

The operation will only benefit children with serious illnesses and injuries, which cannot be performed in Angola.

After the treatment the patients will stay some time for their recovery in Oberhausen, Germany.

GP Goes Big With HIV Tests

The Gauteng Health Department aims to test three million people for HIV and to put almost one million people on to treatment in the new financial year.

As provinces action to align themselves with the implementation of the new National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS came into effect this week, Gauteng will intensify efforts to test more people for HIV infection.

The province states that it will continue with the health counselling and testing campaign that was launched in 2010 and the main focus of which is to test people for HIV and TB.

KZN Probes HIV/AIDS Cure Claims

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Zweli Mkhize, has set up a task team to investigate various treatments advertised as cures for HIV/AIDS.

Speaking at a meeting of the province’s Council on AIDS, Mkhize pointed out that, “We need to deal with this issue urgently because people who have abandoned their treatment will develop drug resistance."

In the same vein, Ethekwini mayor, James Nxumalo, said that one company offered ‘HIVEX’ treatment, which they claim that it uses electro-magnetic rays which target proteins in the virus.

New HIV Drugs Partnership Announced

The South African government has announced a joint venture to reduce the cost of anti-retroviral drugs with a Swiss company.

Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, points out that, the joint venture will establish the first pharmaceutical plant to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients [APIs] for anti-retroviral medicines in the country.

Pandor says that the purpose of producing the APIs locally is to try and reduce the cost of drugs to combat HIV that causes AIDS.

Hope for Africa in the AIDS Fight

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) says that Africa is now at ‘a make-it or break-it moment’ in response to the HIV-AIDS epidemic.

Speaking from Addis Ababa, UNAIDS executive director, Michael Sidibe, points out that there have been massive advances over the past decade in the fight against AIDS in Africa.

Sidibe, who maintains that the fight to acquire affordable AIDS drugs has been successful, states that costs are now down to US$120 per person per year, and over five million HIV-positive people are receiving treatment in Africa.

UNAIDS Predicts Massive AIDS Reduction

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) says that South Africa should see a massive reduction in HIV/IDS cases by the end of the decade after a sea-change in government policy.

The UNAIDS regional director for East and Southern Africa, Sheila Tlou, points out that the country now has more people with HIV infections than any country in the world, with 5.6 million.

Tlou says that East and Southern Africa is known as ‘the centre of the epidemic’ because of the 34 million people living with HIV in the world, almost three quarters live in that region.


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