Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Progress on AIDS Is Focus of Assembly et al

Progress on AIDS Is Focus of Assembly - Washington Post

U.N. Says Promises Broken in AIDS Fight - AP

AIDS Activists Protest at U.N. Building - AP

New battle lines emerging in Asia anti-AIDS fight - Reuters

U.N. Says India Now Has Most AIDS Cases - AP

Fight AIDS at a Store Near You - Washington Post

U.N. Group Sets Compromise on AIDS Policy - Washington Post

Another $10 Billion - Washington Post

The other day I sent a note to a cycling friend of mine, Peter Dolan who also happens to be the CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), the 19 billion dollar US pharmaceutical company. The occasion was to offer him my personal thanks for a BMS initiative I had read about, whereby his company and Baylor Medical School were teaming up to send 250 doctors to Africa to provide AIDS/HIV treatment.

While thanking him, I also acknowledged the ‘cold-equation’ of the spread of the virus across Africa against the monumental tasks of combating it. Currently, only one in five Africans are slated to get treatment, leaving the other 80%, many of who are children, to surely perish. The world-wide donated monies, upwards of $10 billion this year, flowing to fight the disease are less than half of what is required and this difference is expected to get worse as the disease progresses at a faster pace than treatment.

Fighting AIDS/HIV is tremendously difficult because transmission is intertwined with behaviors that are difficult and slow to change, as we have seen here in the US. Furthermore, treatment programs that, at best, keep the disease in check, are substantially more expensive and complex to administer.

Nonetheless, Peter’s words gave me positive pause, and are worth repeating:

Thanks for the words of encouragement…This is only the latest and the tip of the iceberg in terms of what BMS has done regarding AIDS in Africa. Years ago we lowered the price to our manufactured costs, we aren't enforcing patents in Africa, we have built/are building 7 pediatric clinics that treat thousands and we are teaching generic companies who promise to keep the medicine in Africa and India how to make our newest and most innovative therapies while they are still early in their patent life. We've funded over 200 grants and have committed $150 million (second only to the Gates Foundation) since 1999. Our efforts are well known among the international AIDS community, much less so in the US. Check out Secure the Future on our website if you are interested in more.
Hope you are doing well. good luck with the book!

As the leaders and the faithful in the AIDS/HIV battle continue to find new ways to meet the challenges of the disease, both at home and round the world, I will look for more ways to get involved, while I offer these legions the same encouragement that I sent to Peter – thanks and keep up your good work.

James C. Collier


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