AIDS: wealth before health
Pope Benedict, and conservative Catholics who support him – along with fundamentalist Christians – advocate abstinence, contending sex is only permissible between married adults, and that condoms are unacceptable because they prevent procreation. "His opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans." said Rebecca Hodes of the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa. March 2009. [see more]
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Forty million people in the world are living with AIDS. Most of them are in developing countries; women and children are the most affected. The development of new medicines has made it possible for people suffering from this disease to extend their lifespan and improve their quality of life. But this is only true for people in industrialized countries. Those born in the South are not so lucky: 95% live and die without ever accessing proper treatment.

According to the report “AIDS epidemic update 2003” published by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, “urgent efforts are needed to rapidly expand access to treatment in order to help prevent the devastating effects of the millions of estimated new HIV infections and deaths”. The patent regime that regulates trade in medicines is one of the main obstacles standing in the way of universal access.

The United Nations, by way of its specialized agencies, has called for mass access to treatment. Bodies such as the World Health Organization and UNAIDS are conducting negotiations based on the “goodwill” of the parties involved, abstaining from making any statements concerning the catastrophic consequences of the patent regime.

On 1 December 2003, in the framework of the World AIDS Day celebrations, these two agencies launched their latest joint initiative: the “3 by 5”, a strategy aimed at providing antiretroviral therapy to three million people infected with HIV by the end of the year 2005.

Civil society, along with some developing countries, has been mobilizing to change a situation which favors transnational corporations and countries benefiting from corporate interests.

In South Africa several pharmaceutical companies filed a complaint against the government when it passed a law authorizing generic drug manufacture and imports. In April 2001 they withdrew the complaint as a result of joint pressures from civil society and local government. In the year 2003, NGOs scored another major victory when they succeeded in securing that government’s commitment to the implementation of a national antiretroviral therapy program.

Brazil has found an alternative solution to the patent issue. Based on a free interpretation of WTO regulations, it is promoting generic drug production. This, combined with a national health policy, has improved access to treatment, in both quantitative and qualitative terms.

This successful experience, however, is threatened by the negotiations for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), which include proposals that expand the scope of application of patent regulations and reduce the possibilities for government intervention. Something similar occurs with the talks for the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) with the United States. With this tendency, the United States is going against the global consensus reached at Doha.

AIDS 2008 - Mexico D.F, 3-8 August 2008
This conference organised by the International AIDS Society is the largest international conference existing on the issue. See the coverage by Choike of the event held in Mexico City, 3-8 August 2008.

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Up-to-date current affairs information.
Mon Mar 20 2006
UNAIDS calls for nominations of NGO delegates 2007-2008
Fuente: UNAIDS

In-depth reports
Detailed reports on key issues
New Partnership for African Development - NEPAD
Promoted by African governments and supported by the G8, NEPAD has been largely criticized by civil society organizations.
Health and health services, goods for sale
Is privatization the answer to health care problems that affect the poor?
Patents and medicines
What about equal opportunities for developed and developing countries to obtain medicines their populations need?
NGO-organised actions
Build a global united front for HIV prevention and treatment in South Africa
Despite enormous financial investment and some advances (a result of civil society struggle) in treatment of HIV - more than 1000 new infections occur every day and more than 800 deaths occur every day in South Africa.

An overview

Patents vs. patients: AIDS, TNCs and drug price wars (TWN)

The pope is living on the moon

Goal to halt AIDS by 2015 recedes further (IPS)

Global AIDS epidemic continues to grow (UNAIDS)

Guide on ARVs (ELDIS)

AIDS epidemic update 2004 (UNAIDS)

Where NGOs stand on the issue

TAC: `target pharmaceutical companies and press the government´ (TAC)

HIV/AIDS: Time to base public policy on rights (By Zofeen Ebrahim)

Human rights and HIV/AIDS: now more than ever (Open Society Institute)

AIDS conference: turn UN promises into action (Human Rights Watch)

UN meeting on AIDS a failure say CSOs

In defiance of patent abuse (TAC)

Asian People’s Charter on HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS: A health or development issue? (Pambazuka)

African Civil Society position paper on HIV and AIDS in Africa (Pambazuka)

Blocking progress: How the World Bank and IMF are undermining the fight against HIV/AIDS (ActionAid International USA)

Patents vs. access to medicines at AIDS Conference (Third World Network)

Equitable access: scaling up HIV/AIDS treatment in developing countries (MSF)

Joint statement on Canada’s efforts to amend the patent act to increase access to generic medicines (MSF)

The US position

Africa shuns US move allowing access to cheaper AIDS drugs (TWN)

Killing Africa with kindness (TWN)

US AIDS Czar Tobias:‘AIDS is the Enemy, Not Us’ (IPS)

US threatens access to generic HIV/AIDS medicines (ZNet)

Bush AIDS relief plan will delay drugs, reward Big Pharma (FPIF)

Clinton Foundation: generic AIDS drugs cheaper for poor countries. (Health Gap)

Where international organisations stand on the issue

UN: `access to medication is fundamental´ (UN)

The United Nations: agreement with pharmaceutical companies (UNAIDS)

Whose vulnerability counts? Grassroots women leaders call for development investments to fight AIDS (Huairou)

Call to action of the third Africa conference on sexual health and rights

Report finds decline in spending on reproductive health and HIV/AIDS (Gender Action)

2006 report on the global AIDS epidemic (UNAIDS)

WHO: Medicines for all, not just the rich (WHO)

AIDS epidemic update: December 2005 (UNAIDS-WHO)

`When people are dying, a signal is seldom sufficient´ (HIVAN)

The 3 by 5 Initiative (WHO)

AIDS and free trade

The FTAA, Access to HIV/AIDS Treatment, and Human Rights (HRW)

New offensive against patents for AIDS drugs (IPS)

Virus of "free trade" fatal for those with HIV/AIDS (Health Now)

Free trade agreement will undermine access to health (Pambazuka)

Latin American people with AIDS held for ransom (Health Gap)

FTAA Campaign (MSF)

AIDS and gender

HIV/Aids: a war on women (Open Democracy)

NGOs urge action on link between violence against women and HIV/AIDS (Women won't wait campaign)

Reflection on women's rights issues at the AIDS conference (AWID)

African women's statement on HIV/AIDS and women's rights (Health & Development Networks)

With women worldwide: a compact to end HIV/AIDS (International Women's Health Coalition)

Gender an HIV/AIDS web portal (United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM))

Resource pack on gender and HIV/AIDS (UNIFEM)

The case of South Africa

Public opinion forces 'Big Pharma' to back down (MSF)

Medicines and Related Substances Control Amendment Act (South Africa Government)

South African AIDS Conference

Warm welcome for plan to provide AIDS drugs (IPS News)

The case of India

Three by five sparks ‘paradigm shift’ in India…or does it? (Third World Network/Panos Features)

India: WHO hurting cheap AIDS drugs industry (IPS)

The case of Brazil

Universal access to treatment in Brazil (ID21)

US drops WTO case against Brazil (CPTech)

Brazil spurns US terms for Aids help (The Guardian)

HIV/AIDS – Lessons from Brazil (Health-e)

Other countries

Intellectual property rights, access to HIV/AIDS medicines and the fulfilment of civil and political rights (3D)

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