Former President Bill Clinton announced yesterday that his charitable foundation has successfully negotiated a deal with two Indian drug companies that will dramatically reduce the cost of treating children with HIV/AIDS. Cipla and Ranbaxy Laboratories have agreed to produce 19 anti-retroviral drugs and make them available to children in 62 developing countries at an average yearly cost of $60, less than half the cost of the current lowest price, reports the New York Times. “Though the world has made progress in expanding HIV/AIDS treatment to adults, children have been left behind. Only one in 10 children who needs treatment is getting it,” Clinton told the Associated Press. To obtain the lower prices, a $35 million grant from drug consortium Unitaid will be combined with $15 million from the Clinton Foundation in order to promise the drug companies a high volume of sales, according to the New York Times.
Today is World AIDS Day, and humanitarian and advocacy organizations are taking this time to assess the current state of HIV/AIDS in the world. The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) released a report yesterday on the failure of the Bush administration’s President”s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). CPI found that much of the $15 billion appropriated by Congress in 2003 for care, prevention, and treatment of HIV/AIDS in developing countries has been funneled through Christian organizations that teach abstinence and fidelity as the primary methods to prevent spreading HIV/AIDS. Condoms are “lumped into the category of ‘other preventions'” and are significantly down-played, even though about 75 percent of all new HIV infections are spread through sexual intercourse, according to the CPI report.
Since the first case of AIDS was diagnosed 25 years ago, 25 million people have died from AIDS, and 40 million people remain infected with HIV today. In 2005 alone, 3.5 million working-age people died from AIDS, New Scientist reports.
LEARN MORE Read the CPI report, “Divine Intervention”