South African AIDS Advocate Achmat Begins Antiretroviral Drug Treatment; TAC Rolls Out AIDS Drug Program
September 9, 2003
South Africa's leading AIDS advocate Zackie Achmat yesterday announced that he has started taking antiretroviral drugs, which he had previously refused to do until the government committed to a national treatment plan, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 9/8). Achmat, chair of the Cape Town, South Africa-based HIV/AIDS treatment advocacy group Treatment Action Campaign, was diagnosed with HIV in 1990 and developed AIDS in 1997 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/14). Achmat's decision to take the drugs follows the South African government's announcement on Friday that the first phase of a national antitretroviral treatment plan will be launched by 2004 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/8). TAC had lead a campaign of civil disobedience to push for the universal provision of antiretroviral drugs (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 9/8). Achmat said that the organization had made the decision for him to take antiretroviral drugs at a conference last month, adding, "We all recognize that the process [the] government has committed to is irreversible. It's not a question of if, but when and how." Achmat is taking a generic drug imported from India called Triomune, which is a combination of stavudine, lamivudine and nevirapine. The drug costs $39 per month, according to AFP/Yahoo! News (AFP/Yahoo! News, 9/8).
TAC Launches Drug Program
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