[Ip-health] Fwd: [actupnews] WHO shows the way, governments must follow - press release Act Up-Paris - Positive Génération

Céline Grillon international at actupparis.org
Mon Jul 8 06:00:03 PDT 2013

> WHO shows the way, governments must follow
> Press release 8th July 2013
> The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced its newest  
> therapeutic recommendations concerning HIV. A good news that reminds  
> the international community their commitment on universal access to  
> treatments and biological follow-up care.
> To treat earlier, is to treat better
> The new WHO’s recommendations encourage countries to begin  
> antiretroviral treatment (ART) on adults living with the HIV, as  
> soon as their CD4 lymphocyte (immune system cells) rate is below  
> 500cells/mm³. Treating the people suffering from HIV earlier [1]  
> allows, on one hand, to improve the prognosis of a good health by  
> decreasing the chances of comorbidity and, on the other hand, to  
> lower their viral load, which statistically lessens the possibility  
> to transmit the virus to another. WHO also advises to improve the  
> therapeutic follow-up care by improving the access to biological  
> follow-up care, such as viral load and CD4 lymphocyte measurement.  
> These follow-up examinations enable the measurement of virologic and  
> immune responses and the earliest identification possible of  
> therapeutic failures, which require a change in treatment. Last, WHO  
> recommends providing every HIV-positive child under 5, every  
> pregnant or breast-feeding HIV-positive woman and every HIV-positive  
> person whose partner is not infected, with treatment.
> WHO should have gone further
> As the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), the  
> Aids and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) and the Asia  
> Pacific Network (APN+) [2] underlined it, the WHO’s recommendations  
> are missing some crucial points. It is especially the case about the  
> ways of involving communities in every step of the healing process,  
> of including recommendations concerning the HIV/Hepatitis C co- 
> infection or even of the screening of children under 18 months.
> The ball is in the politicians’ court
> In order to make these good intentions come true, politicians will  
> need to show a real political will to overcome this epidemic. The  
> number of people qualified for the ART, thanks to the new  
> recommendations, shifts from 15 million to 26 million, although only  
> 9.7 million people effectively have access to these treatments.  
> Besides, in many countries, transgender, sex workers, homosexuals  
> and drug users are discriminated and have not access to prevention  
> and treatments. As for the biological follow-up examinations, they  
> are seldom performed in the Southern countries due to their high  
> cost and the lack of equipment in laboratories (especially in rural  
> areas).
> Considering that the States of the African Union still have not  
> fulfilled their commitment taken in 2001 in Abuja to allocate 15% of  
> their national budget to health, and that the Global Fund to Fight  
> AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria strives to find the additional $5  
> billion it needs for the next 3 years, one has difficulty to imagine  
> how the WHO’s recommendations could be effectively implemented.
> Lowering the treatments’ price is possible
> Besides the financing matter, pharmaceutical patents keep impeding  
> the universal access to treatments. Even though the arrival of  
> generic medicines on the market resulted in a drop in price for  
> first- and second-line treatments, third-line treatments remain  
> unaffordable in poorer countries because of patents. Yet, more and  
> more patients grow resistant to first intention treatments. The WHO,  
> UNAIDS and UNDP have published [3] recommendations promoting the use  
> of the TRIPS flexibilities [4] in order to improve access to HIV  
> medicines. These flexibilities include the possibility, for the  
> least developed countries [5], to import cheaper generic versions of  
> medicines and not to grant pharmaceutical patents.
> In 2 months, the WTO’s “Decision of 30 August 2003” will celebrate  
> its 10 years, in which decision the paragraph 6 provides the  
> mechanism of importation of generic medicines under patents for  
> countries without the production capacity. This mechanism,  
> prohibitive when considering its complexity, was only used once in  
> 10 years. It is time to assess the situation and make some reforms  
> to allow developing countries to import more easily the medicines  
> their people need.
> In order for the WHO’s new recommendations not to fall into deaf  
> ears, Act Up-Paris (France) and Positive Génération (Cameroun) demand:
> Of Southern Countries:
> • That they ratify and implement the WHO’s new therapeutic  
> recommendations concerning HIV
> • That they fulfill the commitment taken in Abuja to allocate 15% of  
> their national budget to health
> • That they use the flexibilities of the TRIPS agreement to their  
> fullest extent in order to make the access to treatments and  
> biological follow-up examinations easier for ill people
> • That they cease to criminalize the most vulnerable peoples and  
> that they ensure them the same access to treatments as the rest of  
> their population
> Of Northern Countries:
> • That they fulfill their commitment on international solidarity  
> against Aids by providing the Global Fund with $15 billion for the  
> coming 3 years
> • That they authorize, within their national legislations, the  
> making of generic versions of patented medicines meant for  
> developing countries
> • That they cease to negotiate free-trade agreements with even more  
> restrictive provisions than the ones in the TRIPS agreement, which  
> may impede the access to generic medicines
> About Positive Génération (Cameroun) : http://www.positive-generation.org
> About Act Up-Paris (France) : http://www.actupparis.org
> A French version is available here: http://www.actupparis.org/spip.php?article5197
> Contact:
> Céline Grillon, Act Up-Paris: +33 650013910 – international at actupparis.org
> Fogué Foguito, Positive Génération: +237 22036327 – fogue.foguito at positive-generation.org
> Notes
> [1] The WHO’s previous recommendations set the threshold at 350cells/ 
> mm³
> [2] ITPC, ARASA, and APN+. Treat People Right: ITPC, ARASA and APN+  
> Raise Community Concerns about the New WHO Guidelines. Press  
> release. June 30, 2013. https://arasa.info/index.php/news/92-latest-headlines/526-treat-people-right-itpc-arasa-and-apn-raise-community-concerns-about-the-new-who-guidelines
> [3] Using TRIPS flexibilities to improve access to HIV treatment,  
> [4] The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspect of Intellectual Property  
> Rights (TRIPS), signed by World Trade Organization (WTO) members,  
> provides some flexibilities to help facilitate the access to health  
> care.
> [5] Category created by the United Nation Organization that  
> introduces the 48 countries with the lowest human development  
> indices which should receive a particular attention from the  
> international community. The list of the 48 countries can be  
> consulted here: http://unctad.org/en/pages/aldc/Least%20Developed%20Countries/UN-list-of-Least-Developed-Countries.aspx

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