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International News

Africa's First Trial of Generic AIDS Drugs Delayed for a Second Time This Fall

December 11, 2001

A long-awaited program to distribute cheap generic drugs to people with AIDS was delayed Monday for the second time this fall. A Nigerian Ministry of Health official in the capital of Abuja said that "organizational delays" had slowed down the drugs' distribution to 18 health centers where the trial is to begin. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

Only 10,000 adults and 5,000 children out of the 3.5 million Nigerians said to have AIDS will be covered by the program, hailed as one of the most ambitious attempts to bring generic antiretroviral drugs to the continent. Manufactured by Indian companies Cipla and Rambazy, the drugs have arrived in Nigeria and await distribution.

The trial was initially launched by Nigeria's Health Minister in early September but later postponed until this week, apparently to allow time for pharmaceutical regulators to legalize and import the drugs. "We are hopeful," said Ne Ekpe, an official with the national AIDS Alliance, a well-known non-governmental group representing people with AIDS. "We don't know anything. We remain in the dark." A government survey showed that the average national infection rate was 5.8 percent among people between ages 15-45. But in more than 30 of 85 locations studied, HIV prevalence was around 10 percent.

Back to other CDC news for December 11, 2001

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Adapted from:
Associated Press
12.10.01; Glenn McKenzie

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More on HIV/AIDS Treatment in Nigeria