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Durban: Global Call for Treatment Access

June 23, 2000

At each International Conference on AIDS there is an activist march on the opening day. This year the theme is access to treatment for everyone who needs it -- including persons in developing countries. The following call for treatment was developed by the Treatment Action Campaign of South Africa (TAC,, ACT UP New York, ACT UP Philadelphia, the Health GAP Coalition and others. Well over 100 organizations and many individuals from around the world have signed so far (see "How to Sign On," below).

Official Call: Global March for HIV/AIDS Treatment to the International AIDS Conference July 9, 2000 in Durban, South Africa

We ask you to endorse this call and to mobilize for the international march because:

  • HIV has led to the premature death of more than 10 million people from AIDS worldwide.
  • Access to treatment is essential in order to save the lives of more than 35 million people with HIV worldwide.
  • Treatment will encourage people to come forward, live openly with HIV/AIDS and give real meaning to prevention efforts.

Treatments Are Available: The Prices Are Too High

Antiretroviral drugs have been shown to extend the lives and improve the health of many people with AIDS and advanced HIV disease. People in poor countries cannot gain access to life-saving medications because of their price.

HIV infection and AIDS are not a death sentence. There are drugs that can successfully prevent, treat, and cure the opportunistic infections and co-infections, such as tuberculosis, fungal infections, pneumonias, cancers and malaria that kill most people with HIV and AIDS.

Everyone has the right to health, including people with HIV/AIDS!

All people with HIV/AIDS have a right to access to these treatments in addition to health care, employment, education, clean water, adequate nutrition including vitamins and mineral supplements, and housing.

Denying people with HIV/AIDS access to affordable medicines in order to protect profits or intellectual property rights, is tantamount to genocide.

Denying access to treatments or prevention intervention by any government body using the smokescreen of questioning the cause of AIDS is unacceptable.

Treatment Will Sustain Development

In the worst affected countries of the world AIDS will massively increase inequality and poverty, widening the gap between rich nations and poor nations, men and women, as well as rich and poor -- if people are not allowed to live healthy and productive lives.

Access to treatment for people with HIV/AIDS is essential to promote social and economic development for all.

Children Have a Right to Treatment and Family Life

All children with HIV/AIDS have the right to treatment, parental care and support.

Access to treatment for adults with children can give children access to quality parenting support by prolonging that life and improving the quality of that life. This would reduce the devastating impact on children and poor households.

Women with HIV/AIDS Have an Equal Right to Treatment

Denial of treatment for HIV/AIDS affects women disproportionately because of social, political and economic inequality. All women with HIV/AIDS have an equal right to treatment, care and support.

All women have a right to antiretroviral access to reduce HIV transmission during pregnancy.

All women and other rape survivors have the right to be informed that antiretrovirals may reduce the risk of HIV infection if they are taken within 72 hours of being raped. All rape survivors have the right to antiretroviral access within this time-frame.

HIV/AIDS Research Must Focus on Poor Countries and Communities

Most HIV/AIDS research has focused on the industrialized rich countries. The medical needs of children and women across the world have largely been ignored. Treatment and care needs of gay men and men who have sex with men in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean have been neglected.

Research priorities for prevention, treatment, care and support must reflect the profile of the disease and the needs of those who carry the heaviest burden. This is a challenge to the International AIDS Society and the conference.

All people, including people with HIV/AIDS, have a human right to health care, and we call on all individuals, organizations, and governments to ensure adequate medical infrastructure, care and treatments to save the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS.

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Health Global Access Project (GAP) Coalition and the undersigned individuals and organizations will mobilize people throughout the world to support this call.

We invite the Deputy President of South Africa and chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council -- Mr. Jacob Zuma and the national Minister of Health Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang to receive this call at the march -- as host nation on the continent that is the epicentre of the epidemic. We ask the South African government to unite and lead all people around this call.

We invite Dr. Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to receive this call and to carry it to governments around the world.

We invite Professor Jerry Coovadia, chairperson of the Conference, to receive the call on behalf of the medical and scientific community.

We invite Dr. Stephano Vella of IACS to receive this call on behalf of the medical community to promote to the public the importance of global solidarity in facing the AIDS crisis.

We invite Mr. Harvey Bale from the International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association to receive this call to reduce the prices of life-saving drugs.

We invite Dr. Peter Piot, head of UNAIDS, and the ambassadors of every country in the world to receive this call and to translate it into the public policies of the governments they represent.

We invite the ambassadors of the European Union and the United States to receive this call against pressurizing poor countries on behalf of drug companies.

We call on every person to join this march and this call to save the lives of millions throughout this world -- and to build a global movement for HIV/AIDS treatment.

How to Sign On

To endorse the global call, send your name, organization, address, e-mail address, fax number, and phone number by mail, e-mail, or fax. Please specify whether your affiliated organization is endorsing the Global Call.

fax: +1-415-255-8662
mail: Global Call Durban 2000, c/o IGLHRC, 1360 Mission St., Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94103

ISSN # 1052-4207

Copyright 2000 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.

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This article was provided by AIDS Treatment News. It is a part of the publication AIDS Treatment News.