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Say Anything

January 2003

Say Anything

Warnings that patients would skip doses and create drug-resistant strains of the disease -- expressed last year by top U.S. foreign aid official Andrew S. Natsios -- have not been borne out. The program's adherence rates seem significantly higher than those at treatment centers in the West. ...
Washington Post reporter Michael Grunwald in a December 2, 2002, article profiling Botswana's ambitious AIDS treatment and prevention program, which he termed "the developing world's most intense attack on AIDS." The program promises antiretroviral therapy to all who need it. While Botswana's efforts have been rewarded with very good adherence rates, according to the article, there have been problems with hospital overcrowding, and officials said they have failed to convince a majority of citizens to change sexual behaviors or get tested for HIV. Botswana currently has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world.

According to [official Chinese news agency] Xinhua, four drugs -- zidovudine, didanosine, stavudine, and nevirapine -- would be available in China soon, and mass production would reduce annual treatment expense for each AIDS patient by 90 percent. The annual expense for each patient is set to be around 3,000 and 5,000 yuan (US$360-600).
Reuters Health reporting December 30, 2002, that the Chinese government announced plans to mass-produce four generic antiretroviral agents beginning in January 2003. China only officially acknowledged its burgeoning HIV crisis in the last months of 2002. The director of a Beijing AIDS treatment facility told Reuters Health that he had not yet received notification of when the more affordable drugs would be available to patients.

It's perfectly legal to teach sex education in Louisiana schools, but only one of our 66 parishes actually does. We don't like to talk about it.
Louisiana State Senator Paulette Riley Irons describing a cultural disinclination in her state for frank discussions of sex, as quoted in a December 11, 2002, Kaiser Family Foundation special report. This is seen as one of several factors leading to a 9 percent increase in new HIV infections in the Southern region of the United States (comprised of 16 states plus the District of Columbia) in 2000-2001. The rest of the country averaged a 1 percent increase in new HIV infections during that same period. Other factors seen as contributing to the region's disproportionately high HIV incidence include unequal access to healthcare for minority populations; geographical barriers where housing and healthcare spread sparsely over vast regions makes it difficult to reach clinics and hospitals; a high prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases; and immigration of HIV-infected people from other regions.

Looking after orphans is like starting life all over again, because I have to work on the farm, clean the house, feed the children, buy school uniforms. I thought I would no longer do these things again. I am not sure if I have the energy to cope.
A 65-year-old man in Makoni Manicaland, Zimbabwe, who was left to care for three children after their parents died of AIDS-related complications. He was quoted in a World Health Organization (WHO) report that examined the impact of AIDS on elderly men and women who must care for younger HIV-infected people and the orphans of family members who have died of HIV disease. The report was based on a case study of 685 older Zimbabweans who are performing this type of care. It found that such caregivers are often financially burdened because they lack support they might otherwise receive from their adult children who are dying or dead; their poverty is compounded by having to pay for the everyday and medical needs of their children and grandchildren.

Gro Harlem Brundtland

I managed to bring health onto the political agenda, and have a Secretary-General of the United Nations [Kofi Annan] who, much more than anytime before, has taken AIDS health issues as part of his central agenda.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland in an interview with National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." In addition to commenting about her August 2002 announcement that she would not seek a second term, Brundtland stressed that the WHO must strive to be a center of excellence and an objective source of the best information and best practices in support of member countries. Elected Director-General in May 1998, Brundtland is credited with advancing an ambitious global health agenda -- especially around anti-smoking, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis.


Back to the January 2003 issue of IAPAC Monthly.




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