Be Warned: some very disturbing and NSFW intravenous drug abuse images from Eastern Europe. [More Inside]
Drug-resistant HIV strain alarms officials Speculation abounds about the 40something year old man, but doctors think that he had sex with someone who had AIDS and had already developed a resistance to drugs, and then his own crystal meth use created an unkown strain in him. [NYT article]
July, 2004 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic: "The HIV epidemic is worse than ever." "As the AIDS pandemic enters its 24th year, the number of people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection continues to increase steadily. Two thirds of infected persons are in Africa, where the epidemic exploded during the 1990s, and one fifth are in Asia, where the epidemic has been growing rapidly in recent years." A new report from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS shows that ""in short, the epidemic is outstripping efforts to contain it." "We're talking about more than 8,000 deaths every single day and in the war against AIDS we know the tools that work, we know the sorts of intervention that work, and if an administration is choosing other than these, and is doing less than it ought, then they're absolutely responsible." As prevention fails and more people die, some are "still insisting that only brand-name AIDS drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, most of them manufactured by big U.S. pharmaceutical companies, can be bought by beneficiaries of U.S. aid, despite the fact they are as much as five times more expensive as their generic equivalents manufactured in poor countries."
African AIDS Drug Plan Faces Collapse. The World Health Organization's Three by Five programme seeks to supply 3 million Africans with anti-HIV drugs by 2005. But it's in danger, due to lack of cash... and opposition from special interests who seem to be exerting influence over the U.S. government. According to Stephen Lewis, U.N. Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa, 'If Three by Five fails, as it surely will without the dollars, then there are no excuses left, no rationalisations to hide behind. There will only be the mass graves of the betrayed.'
The Access to Essential Medicines Campaign is an initiative by Medecins Sans Frontieres that seeks to "lower the prices of existing medicines in developing countries, to bring abandoned drugs back into production, to stimulate research and development for neglected diseases that primarily affect the poor, and to overcome other barriers to access." HIV is one target disease. The Campaign's press releases, press clips and reports on HIV give a good picture of recent developments. In light of this evidence, does anyone care to step up and defend "big pharma" and the governments of the wealthy North? Have we/they "done enough"? What would "doing enough" look like, given the scope of the crisis?
Injection drug use causes HIV, and we know how to prevent it . . . but it's not happening In the US, 29% of HIV infections are the result of injection drug use (IDU). Preventing IDU HIV infections can be done, and has been done, through needle exchange programs. Only problem: These programs are typically illegal and can't be funded with Federal AIDS prevention monies. The majority of children with AIDS, who make terribly sympathetic "victims of AIDS"--witness the 1990 Ryan White AIDS CARE Act--are the children of injection drug users. We'll spend money to take care of these sick children, but we won't spend money to prevent then from getting sick (to say nothing of preventing their parents from getting sick and dying). What's wrong here?
Afghanistan Bombing Could Cause AIDS Explosion Apparently, the war on terrorism and drugs could have a disastrous effect on Pakistan
US drug patients vs. the world in AIDS crisis. Brazil is making generic AIDS medicine based upon existing drugs created (and of course patented) by US drug companies. the catch? they are giving the drugs away FOR FREE. US Drug companies want their money. the UN agreed ,52 in favor and 1 not in favor, for brazil's strategy for dealing with the AIDS crisis. guess who opposed.
Drug companies drop AIDS drugs lawsuit against South Africa. Shamed into it, of course. Paid legal costs too. Perhaps a significant precedent?
Merck to lower prices of HIV drugs for Africa It's not perfect and it's not much of a decrease, but it's a start and long overdue.
Drug Manufacturers to african AIDS patients:die. "Forty big pharmaceutical companies are trying to stop the South African Government from importing cut-price versions of well-known [AIDS] drugs.The multi-nationals say that would threaten their patent rights." The milk of human kindness... And BTW before anyone comments on how the drug companies have to make profits to fund further research and provide new drugs, since when finding ways to provide cheaper drugs stifles innovation?