Fewer deaths to AIDS worldwide attributed to greater access to drugs
Sub-Saharan Africa getting more antiretroviral drugs, making dent in deaths attributable to AIDS
Deaths attributable to AIDS/HIV worldwide has declined, thanks to
greater access to antiretroviral drugs in more isolated parts of the
globe. Sub-Saharan Africa has made inroads in making these drugs
available to patients, leading to a significant dent in deaths related
to the AIDS virus.
Sub-Saharan Africa has made inroads in making these drugs available to patients, leading to a significant dent in deaths related to the AIDS virus.
An estimated 8 million people in lower-income countries are receiving antiretroviral drugs. The U.N. has set a target to raise that to 15 million by 2015.
Funding for HIV prevention and treatment totaled $16.8 billion last year, with $8.2 billion coming from international sources including the United States, which donated 48 percent of it. The amount of money spent by poor and middle-income countries reached $8.6 billion last year, surpassing international investment for the first time. The U.N. estimates that another $5 billion is needed to reach its 2015 goals.
"We need innovation which will reduce the cost of medicine," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, said during a telephone interview. The U.N. is talking with pharmaceutical companies about how to improve access to lower-cost versions of simpler HIV treatments that combine several drugs in a single pill.
"If we want to maintain people on second and third-line medicine it will not be possible with the price of the drugs we have today."
Paul De Lay, UNAIDS deputy executive director, warns that inroads made against AIDS could be jeopardized by a surge in infection seen in smaller patient groups, including in Eastern Europe and the United States.
"We are looking at an epidemic that's going to last another 40 to 50 years to get down to what we would consider the lowest possible number of infections," De Lay said.
"It reminds us that prevention must be sustained, just the way we talk about sustaining treatment. Until we have a vaccine this is still going to have to be part of all countries' health programs," he said.
To this end, public health officials are considering wider use of HIV medications in people who are not infected with the virus but have a high risk of contracting it. U.S. health regulators for the first time approved use of Gilead Sciences Inc's Truvada drug for preventing HIV.
Researchers are also working on using HIV-fighting antibodies to prevent infection, and they say their efforts could yield a licensed vaccine.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: AIDS, HIV, Sub-Saharn Africa, drugs, success
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