Treatment Action Campaign to Announce Lawsuit Against South Africa Over Provision of Nevirapine
The Treatment Action Campaign, a South African AIDS group, will announce today its plans to go to court to try to "force" the South African government to dispense nevirapine to HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent vertical HIV transmission, the AP/Washington Post reports. The South African government recently launched two pilot programs in each of the country's nine provinces to examine the effects of nevirapine treatment on pregnant women with HIV, but TAC estimates that the programs included only 10% of the country's HIV-positive pregnant women. TAC has urged the government to make nevirapine more widely available, but said that it received an "unsatisfactory" response from Health Minister Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. "Our attempts to persuade government to act urgently on this matter have been rebuffed," the group said in a statement (Nessman, AP/Washington Post, 8/20). In addition to TAC, many health care professionals have criticized the government's HIV/AIDS policy, stating that its "lack of leadership" on and "confused response" to the issue have hampered efforts to fight the epidemic (Mulugeta, Newsday, 8/21). TAC is scheduled to announce details of the lawsuit today and refused to comment on the litigation before that time. The Health Ministry also declined to comment on the case (AP/Washington Post, 8/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.