‘Barcelona Declaration’ demands 2m poor people are treated in the next two years
Graham McKerrow, HIV i-Base
Several hundred people attended a rally and march on the eve of the conference, at which a ‘Barcelona Declaration’ was unveiled with four demands to extend treatment to millions more people in poor countries.
The demands were for:
- Donations of $10 billion a year for fighting AIDS around the world,
- Antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for two million people with HIV/AIDS in the developing world by the time of the International AIDS Conference 2004 in Bangkok;
- Lower ARV drug prices in the developed world and universal access to generic drugs in the developing world by 2004;
- A new global partnership between governments and NGOs recognising the primary role of NGOs in the global fight against AIDS.
After the rally, a deputation of the organisers presented the declaration to Stefano Vella, the outgoing president of the International AIDS Society.
The main speaker at the rally was Dr Joep Lange, the incoming president of the International AIDS Society, who warned against the danger of waiting for a vaccine and in the meantime “leaving the problem unresolved and people untreated”.
Lange told about 600 demonstrators that the demand for $10bn was “a joke” and that up to $25bn was needed. However, he said that a Global Access Alliance was “in the making” to promote cooperation and avoid duplication.
US Congresswoman Barbara Lee told the rally: “I’m from Oakland, California, where we have a state of emergency in the African American community.” She said the problems were duplicated around the world and $10bn was “a drop in the bucket”.
Another speaker claimed the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline spent $500m a year on marketing “AIDS drugs”, a sum he said would pay to treat a million people.
The rally was organised by AIDS Therapeutic Treatment Now (ATTN), a new organisation with offices on Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. Some delegates boycotted the march and others attended another rally after a series of arguments over hostile language ATTN had used to describe some pharmaceutical companies and complaints that ATTN was too America-centric.