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AFRO-NETS> Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report - Tue, 31 Jul 2001

  • Subject: AFRO-NETS> Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report - Tue, 31 Jul 2001
  • From: Cecilia Snyder <csnyder@ccmc.org>
  • Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2001 03:38:05 -0400 (EDT)

Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report - Tue, 31 Jul 2001

*Clinton Opens Office in Harlem, Says He Will Continue to Fight AIDS
*Annan Names Former Ugandan Health Minister to Head AIDS Fund Transi-
tion Team
*Nigeria to Launch Africa's Largest AIDS Treatment Program
*South African Public Works Minister Distributing Homemade AIDS Rem-

Clinton Opens Office in Harlem, Says He Will Continue to Fight AIDS

Former President Bill Clinton, speaking before a Harlem crowd that
came to welcome him into his new post-presidential office yesterday,
said that he intends to continue to fight against AIDS on a global
and local scale, the New York Times reports (Waldman, New York Times,
7/31). At the welcoming ceremony, Clinton said, "We all have to care
about AIDS everywhere in the world. We want our interdependence to
be positive, not negative." Clinton will hold a news conference with
record producer and singer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds today to an-
nounce their joint fundraising and educational initiative to combat
AIDS in Africa. Edmonds will soon embark on a "fact-finding tour"
though African communities affected by AIDS and produce concerts and
a CD to raise funds for the anti-AIDS effort, International AIDS
Trust spokesperson Peter Paris said (Associated Press, 7/31).

Annan Names Former Ugandan Health Minister to Head AIDS Fund Transi-
tion Team

Yesterday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan named former Ugandan
Health Minister Crispus Kiyonga as head of the transition team for
the U.N.-brokered Global AIDS and Health Fund, the Wall Street Jour-
nal reports. Kiyonga, who until last week oversaw what many observers
consider to be "one of Africa's most effective AIDS-prevention cam-
paigns," will head a group charged with determining how the fund --
which also aims to fight malaria and tuberculosis -- will operate.
No start date for the transition team has been announced, but so far
$1.4 billion has been pledged to the fund for 2002. Health experts
estimate that the fund needs between $7 million and $10 million annu-
ally to be effective (Wall Street Journal, 7/31).

Annan Addresses Urban League

Annan also addressed the African HIV/AIDS crisis yesterday when
speaking before members of the National Urban League, which works to
"empowe[r] African Americans to enter the economic and social main-
stream." He said that next month's U.N.-sponsored World Conference
Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intol-
erance in Durban, South Africa, would be "essential" for battling the
"widespread" racial and ethnic prejudices that fuel Africa's civil
conflicts and the HIV/AIDS epidemic (Becker, New York Times, 7/31).

Nigeria to Launch Africa's Largest AIDS Treatment Program

Nigeria on Sept. 1 will launch the largest antiretroviral HIV/AIDS
treatment program in Africa, made possible after the Nigerian health
minister negotiated a $350 per patient per year deal with generic
AIDS drugmaker Cipla Ltd., the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. The program
will treat 10,000 adults and 5,000 children in Nigeria, only a "tiny
fraction" of the 2.6 million HIV-positive citizens in the country,
but nevertheless a good demonstration that African efforts are "un-
derway to tackle the epidemic," Stephen Lewis, special envoy of U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan for HIV/AIDS in Africa, said. He added,
"It's a quite extraordinary intervention, a measure of the presi-
dent's determination that they maintain the level of the pandemic
where it is and try to turn it back. They recognize that if Nigeria
fails, then much of Africa will fail." The Nigerian government will
subsidize 80% of the cost of the drugs, but patients will have to pay
between $7 and $8 per month for the treatment, Lewis noted. The
drugs will be administered by Nigeria's teaching hospitals. Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo had warned at the U.N. General Assembly's
Special Session on HIV/AIDS last month that "the prospect of extinc-
tion of the entire population of a continent looms larger and larger"
(AP/Las Vegas Sun, 7/30).

South African Public Works Minister Distributing Homemade AIDS Remedy

Stella Sigcau, South Africa's public works minister, is reportedly
manufacturing and distributing a homemade "traditional" cure for
HIV/AIDS, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Sigcau, a "key ally" of
President Thabo Mbeki in the Eastern Cape, said that the remedy is
made primarily from peach leaves, but added that she does not "want
the whole world to know the ingredients" and is applying for a pat-
ent. The news was met with "dismay" from AIDS activists who are al-
ready at odds with the government over its failure to provide anti-
retroviral medications to those infected with HIV. Despite settling a
lawsuit with the world's major pharmaceutical manufacturers that
would allow it to produce or import generic drugs, the South African
government still has not begun any plans to make antiretrovirals more
widely available, citing concerns over the drugs' toxicity. Sharon
Ekambaram of the AIDS Consortium said that Sigcau's traditional rem-
edy was only "increasing the confusion around HIV treatment," adding,
"It's not helping the department of health." Sigcau countered that
she "believe[s] traditional medicine may have a role to play in com-
batting viral disease and should be assessed." AIDS activists have
criticized Mbeki for "repeatedly" publicly questioning the causal
link between HIV and AIDS. He and several members of his cabinet have
implied that poverty may be the alternative cause of AIDS. Last
year, Sigcau "refused" to say whether she agreed with Mbeki, telling
a parliamentary briefing that her job was to relieve poverty and that
government efforts should focus on the poverty that helped spread the
disease. It is "unclear" whether Sigcau is selling the medicine or
distributing it free of charge, but nonetheless, she is required by
law to submit it to the government for official approval (O'Loughlin,
Sydney Morning Herald, 7/28).

The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org,
a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, by National
Journal Group Inc. c 2001 by National Journal
Group Inc. and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved

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