HIV-Positive People in Developing Countries Risk Having No Antiretroviral Treatment, HIV/AIDS Advocates Say
August 18, 2006
Hundreds of thousands of HIV-positive people in developing countries in a few years will have no antiretroviral drug treatment unless more focus is placed on drug costs and access, HIV/AIDS advocates said Wednesday at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Toronto's Globe and Mail reports. Although the price of first-line antiretroviral treatment in developing countries has been reduced to $132 annually per person, HIV-positive people taking the drugs likely will become resistant to them in three to four years, and second-line treatment is at least six times more expensive, according to the Globe and Mail. The issue is particularly pertinent in developing regions, where standard second-line antiretrovirals cost $1,500 annually per person, the Globe and Mail reports. "That's 10 times the price of the first line, so if 10% of your patients go on it, your overall costs double," Anil Soni, director of pharmaceutical services at the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative, said, adding, "But the macro issue is that this is driving an exponential increase in cost, just as we're talking about universal access" to drugs. In addition, new recommendations, released this week by the World Health Organization, list the most effective HIV/AIDS drugs, but many included on the list are too expensive for developing countries. "It means countries can't implement the guidelines," Alexandra Calmy, an advocate for drug access, said.
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2006 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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