Last week, Health GAP was in South Africa for the bi-annual International AIDS Conference. AIDS 2016 was special. After 16 years, the conference returned to South Africa, a country with the world’s largest HIV epidemic, and to Durban, a city where 16 years ago activists catalyzed a sea-change in the world’s response to the AIDS epidemic in the Global South. One week later, we’re still talking about the moments from the International AIDS Conference that left us feeling inspired to continue our work in the fight for universal access to HIV treatment, prevention and care.
Returning to Durban, South Africa for the International AIDS Conference sixteen years later, the issue of high drug prices remains front and center. First generation antiretroviral medicines remain accessible and affordable in most low- and middle-income countries and some people in some regions have access to low-priced second-generation medicines because of voluntary licenses and discounted prices. But millions of people with HIV and their governments, especially in middle-income countries in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and in the Mideast and North Africa, face antiretroviral drug prices that are exclusionary because of drug monopolies. And yet, people with HIV have better access than most – our brothers and sisters living with cancer, hepatitis, mental illness, and other treatable health conditions face unrelenting intellectual property barriers. Meanwhile, the Indian generic industry - often referred to as "the pharmacy of the developing world" - is under threat.Read more
The U.S. government has formally announced it is abandoning its previous policy of "transitioning" out of funding for South Africa's HIV treatment program--pledging $410 million next year to support the SA AIDS response. This reflects a reversal of the Partnership Framework policy that activists in South Africa and the U.S. have sharply criticized--highlighted in the Health GAP report "The Politics of Transition" and analysis by TAC/MSF/Section 27.Read more
The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has maintained insufficient flat funding levels for global AIDS in their appropriations bill for FY 2017. This move by congressional legislators puts the historic opportunity to end the AIDS pandemic at stake.Read more
The U.S. Congress is currently in the midst of the appropriations process - during which it decides how much money will be allocated to every U.S. government funded program. Under the Obama administration, funding for global AIDS programs has been consistently diminished or flat-lined since 2010. The President's budget request for FY2017, released earlier this year, continued this flat-funding for the PEPFAR program, despite the urgent need for a $500 million increase in order to scale up access to treatment and prevention services. In the coming months, Congress has the ability to change this.Read more