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Ethiopians to Receive Free Brand-Name HIV Drugs as Part of U.S. Global Initiative

December 10, 2004

On Thursday, Assistant US Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul said thousands of HIV-infected Ethiopians will start receiving free AIDS drugs for the first time next month as part of President Bush's $15 billion global AIDS relief initiative. The $43 million program will target up to 15,000 Ethiopians in 2005, said Dybul. Over the next five years, Ethiopia plans to expand treatment to 210,000 people. Ethiopia will be one of the few African countries to offer AIDS patients free brand-name antiretroviral drugs; many governments opted for the cheaper generic versions. "In the absence of drugs of high quality, safety and efficacy you can do more harm than good," Dybul said. Ethiopia, where some 1.5 million of the estimated 70 million population live with HIV/AIDS, first began accessing the ARVs in September 2004.

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Excerpted from:
Associated Press
12.09.04; Anthony Mitchell

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