A round-up of news about access to treatments with links to sources: Britain, Ukraine, Thailand, Europe, South Africa

Graham McKerrow, HIV i-Base

UK gives £3m to Global Fund to help secure US donation

The UK is giving US$ 5.3 million (£ 3 million) to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – money that has been brought forward from the UK pledge for 2005.

The announcement helps the Global Fund obtain money from the United States, which was promised on condition that every $1 was matched by $2 from other donors by September 30, 2004, The United States pledged $547 million for 2004 on this condition.

Even if full payment of outstanding pledges from non-US donors were to be received by the Global Fund, $53 million was needed to maximise the US contribution, before taking into account the new UK donation.

The new pledge from the UK follows the announcement by Prime Minister Tony Blair in July of £154 million over the next three years, which effectively doubled the UK contribution for 2005-2007.

Britain has been a key donor to the Global Fund since making one of the first pledges to the organisation in 2001, and has also been a strong supporter through advocacy at the highest political level and this will take on a fresh importance next year when the UK assumes the presidency of the G8.

The original letter sent to Tony Blair:

Status of pledges and contributions to the Global Fund:

Information on the work of the Global Fund:

or contact Christoph Benn at +41 79 445 1517:

Ukraine joins Clinton Initiative to expand treatment and care

Ukraine has joined the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative Procurement Consortium, a move that will let the country purchase ARVs and diagnostics at the lowest prices in the world and so scale up its national care and treatment programme. Ukraine has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS of all Eastern European countries; about 1% of the population of 48 million is HIV-positive.

Elena Franchuk, the founder of Ukraine’s ANTI-AIDS Foundation, said: “The high cost of ARV’s is the main obstacle to expanding national prevention and treatment programmes for people living with HIV/AIDS. According to Ministry of Health data, at least 4000 people currently need treatment.”

The prices for ARVs negotiated by the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative are between a third and a half of the next lowest prices; training, reagents and maintenance and are up to 80% cheaper than otherwise available. More than 20 countries purchase drugs or diagnostics at the Clinton Initiative reduced prices.

Volodymyr Zhovtyak, the Head of the Coordinating Council of All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH said: “The All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH, of course, welcomes Ukraine’s joining the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative Procurement Consortium because any opportunity to procure cheaper ARV drugs and diagnostics for Ukraine is vitally necessary.”

Full story:

Clinton Foundation:

Thailand to give ARVs and condoms to Myanmar to combat HIV on frontier

Thailand will give Myanmar (formerly Burma) anti-Aids drugs and condoms, worth 10 million baht (£135,000), to help combat the spread of HIV along their mutual border.

The gift includes supplies of a fixed dose combination of nevirapine, d4T and 3TC, called GPO-Vir, which is produced by the Thai Government Pharmaceutical Organisation, to treat 200 people, mostly hill tribe villagers, for three years. Thailand will also give a million condoms.

Cooperation between the two countries includes a health care programme to combat elephantiasis, malaria, meningococcal meningitis and tuberculosis. Thai health authorities believe Burmese immigrants have spread infections to Thai villagers along the border.

Thailand will renew efforts to gain financial support from the Global Fund and the World Health Organisation to provide generic ARVs and to develop infrastructure in Burma. The Global Fund had declined to give billions of baht to Thailand because of its failure to work with the Burmese government and to curb Aids along the border.

Full story:

Activists outline detailed demands for action by EU

Health ministers, industry and civil society representatives from across Europe met in Vilnius in September to pledge action to counter the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. The Conference adopted a declaration ‘expressing willingness’ to coordinate a continent-wide effort to fight the disease with all involved working together in partnership. The European AIDS Treatment Group, together with civil society representatives urged the European Ministers and the EU to commit to fighting the HIV epidemic rather than just ‘express their willingness’.

They said there should be measurable outcomes, specified deadlines and monitoring and allocated resources.

Among their demands, they called for:

  • Secure access to prevention, treatment and care for all people living in Europe, regardless of their legal status.
  • Guaranteed respect, protection and promotion of human rights as a fundamental tool to effectively prevent and combat the epidemic.
  • The meaningful involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS in policymaking, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Safe housing, safe work places and safe parenthood for People with HIV/AIDS.
  • Guaranteed European wide access to opiate substitution therapy, de-penalisation of drug use, and availability of sterile injecting equipment and its safe disposal.

Full EATG press release is at:

Agenda, press releases, working paper and key document:

Only 8,000 on ARVs in South Africa

Fewer than 8,000 people are receiving antiretroviral treatment at public facilities in South Africa despite the government promising a new chapter in tackling the country’s HIV disaster, according to a report of the inaugural meeting of the Joint Civil Society Monitoring and Evaluation Forum of the Operational Plan for Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care, management and Treatment for South Africa in September.

The Forum comprises 10 leading organisations including the Treatment Action Campaign and Médecins Sans Frontières and the report of the meeting at Polokwane, Limpopo, said the Forum welcomed the progress made in scaling up treatment in some provinces and is encouraged by the efforts and determination of some healthcare workers and some provincial governments in accelerating the implementation of the government’s Operational Plan.

The report goes on to say that delays in most provinces in systematically expanding access to ARVs have caused several public health problems: patients are starting treatment very late, and people are dying waiting to be clinically assessed. About 5.6 million South Africans were estimated to be living with HIV last year.

For full text of the summary of the discussion, Google the keyword “forum” at:

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.