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AIDS Treatment Access in South Africa

Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report

Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter & Bill Gates Sr.
Call for Treatment Access in South Africa

Nelson Mandela calls for greater access to AIDS drugs in South Africa Former South African President Nelson Mandela, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Bill Gates Sr., father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, yesterday called for greater access to AIDS drugs in South Africa, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 3/7).

Gates and Carter are in Africa through March 12 to meet with heads of state, government ministers, health workers, faith-based organizations, volunteers, private businesses and HIV-positive individuals to draw attention to the African epidemic (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/25).

Speaking at the Zola clinic in Soweto, which dispensed AIDS drugs to about 3,000 pregnant women last year to prevent vertical HIV transmission, the three men said that the government should expand treatment efforts and take steps to end the stigmatization of those with the disease.

Mandela praised Gauteng province Premier Mbhazima Shilowa for expanding treatment access to nevirapine through public hospitals. Mandela acknowledged that AIDS drugs may be toxic, but said people should have the option of taking them if they so choose (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 3/7).

The Gates Foundation also announced at the Soweto clinic that it has awarded four South African AIDS projects $150,000 to promote HIV prevention and provide services to people with the disease (Agence France-Presse, 3/7).

After meeting with South African President Thabo Mbeki and Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang today, Carter said that he "regretted that South Africa had been stigmatized by the debate over antiretroviral drugs." He said that he had asked Mbeki why the government condemned Shilowa after he announced he would expand Gauteng province's nevirapine program.

He said that Mbeki and Tshabalala-Msimang responded that they wanted to prove the drug's efficacy and safety before expanding its use (South African Press Association, 3/8). Carter and Gates are keeping an online account of their trip on Slate magazine's Web site (Slate, 3/6). The journal entries are available online.
Stop AIDS Campaign Urges Great Britain to Increase Contribution to Global AIDS Fund

The Stop AIDS Campaign, a coalition of 15 British charities, on Wednesday launched an effort designed to pressure the British government into increasing its contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Reuters reports (Miles, Reuters, 3/7).

The government has pledged $200 million over five years to the fund, which has so far grossed $1.9 billion but is estimated to need $10 billion annually (Dale, OneWorld Africa, 3/6). The Stop AIDS Project is encouraging the government to donate 0.7% of the nation's gross domestic product.

"We are calling on the British government ... to increase the aid budget to enable the U.K. to increase its spending on [the African AIDS] crisis five-fold," Mike Aronson, director general of coalition member Save the Children, said, adding, "We're talking about less money than people in the U.K. spend each year on ice cream. ... I think that many British people -- if they really knew the extent of the problem -- would be appalled" (Reuters, 3/7).

Milly Katana, an HIV-positive woman from Uganda, is in London this week at the invitation of the Stop AIDS Project to speak to government officials about the HIV/AIDS situation in Africa. "As a strong member of the international community, Britain must play a key role in raising awareness of the Global Fund and help in the major challenges of fundraising," Katana said, noting that the current pledges are "an important start, but far more resources are needed to adequately address HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria" (OneWorld Africa, 3/6). Katana was recently appointed by the fund's board to serve as a representative of the people of developing countries (Stop AIDS Campaign release, 3/4).
This summary is from the Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report provided by, a free health policy news summary and webcasting service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for by National Journal Group Inc. © 2001 by National Journal Group Inc. and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved

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