Haiti: AIDS Treatment and Prevention of HIV Go Together, Expert Says
November 18, 2002
One of the world's leading advocates for providing AIDS drugs to the poorest people on the planet spoke at the University of Washington Thursday, challenging those who contend it is unworkable and unwise to use complex HIV drug regimens under Third World conditions. Dr. Paul Farmer, a medical anthropologist and Harvard physician who runs an AIDS clinic in Haiti, said his experience proves it is both workable and necessary. In fact, he said, "It is unwise to attempt prevention without treatment." Farmer was one of the speakers at a day-long symposium on HIV/AIDS organized by UW's Center for AIDS Research.
At the Clinique Bon Sauveur in Cange, Haiti, Farmer and his staff provide antiviral medications for about 300 HIV-infected people. Using the same therapeutic approach for as tuberculosis, or directly observed treatment short-course, they report having brought many Haitians back from their deathbeds. When they first opened the clinic and offered free HIV tests, Farmer said there was little interest. When they began offering AZT years ago, however, interest went up.
"As soon as we put AZT on the formulary, a lot of women signed up for serological testing," Farmer said. "If people think treatment is available, there is a lot more interest in prevention." With the launch of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, he said the clinic now has approximately 3,000 people asking for care.
11.15.02; Tom Paulson
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.