NN: HIV treatment and prevention

>> Gilead’s Antiretroviral Patent Request Rejected by Brazil, Kaiser Network (4 September 2008)
Good news!  Brazil has rejected a request from pharmaceutical company Gilead to patent its antiretroviral drug tenofovir.  “The decision means that Brazil now could import less expensive, generic versions of tenofovir because of World Trade Organization regulations.”  The decision has been praised by MSF/Doctors Without Borders, and is expected to increase access to ARV access throughout the developing world.  According to the article, an “Indian-made generic version of tenofovir costs $158 per person annually, compared with the $1,378 Gilead charges in Brazil.”

>> HIV/AIDS, Human Rights Charter Proposed in Zimbabwe, Kaiser Network (4 September 2008)
Excerpt: “An HIV/AIDS and human rights charter that aims to protect and promote the rights of people living with the disease was proposed recently by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights […] According to [South African Justice Edwin] Cameron, the charter was launched at an opportune moment given the “extraordinary political situation” in Zimbabwe. He said the current governmental situation in Zimbabwe is “linked” with poor health services in the country (Standard, 9/1).”

>> Zimbabwe Government Lifts Ban on Aid Groups; Organizations Still Face Difficulties Providing Assistance, Kaiser Network (3 September 2008)
Excerpt: “Zimbabwe on Friday lifted an almost three-month ban on the work of aid groups in the country, which the government had imposed because it said some of the groups had supported the opposition to President Robert Mugabe, the New York Times reports (Dugger, New York Times, 8/30). However, some nongovernmental organizations attempting to provide HIV/AIDS-related assistance to people living with the disease in the country said that despite the removal of the ban, many of their would-be clients continue to go without aid.”

>> HIV Rates Spur Outreach to African Immigrants, Washington Post (2 September 2008)
HIV prevention outreach efforts are missing African immigrants living in the United States, even though studies suggest that this group has “greatly disproportionate infection rates.”  A common obstacle: since “many health departments do not ask patients where they were born, most HIV-positive African immigrants are typically categorized — obscured, experts say — in surveys as ‘black’ or ‘African American.'”

>> The Path of Least Resistance (Foreign Policy Magazine), Center for Global Development
An article in the October issue of Foreign Policy Magazine emphasizes the dangers posed by diseases that evolve fast enough to constantly evade researchers’ efforts to understand and contain them: “Too often, the labors of drug companies and the international health community lag far behind the speed with which diseases evolve. Add to the problem weak and unresponsive health systems, drug makers uninterested in products for poor customers, and dangerous fake drugs, and our well-intended billions in health aid don’t stand a chance against the next generation of mutating microbes.”

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~ by h.e.g. on September 9, 2008.

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