Zimbabwe Declares HIV/AIDS Emergency; Move Will Facilitate Importation of Generic DrugsZimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government on Friday declared a national six-month emergency period because of the scope of the country's HIV/AIDS epidemic, Reuters/MSNBC.com reports. The state of emergency, which was announced on Monday in the government's weekly newspaper, will facilitate the importation of generic antiretroviral drugs without raising patent issues, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said. At least 20% of Zimbabwe's population of 14 million is HIV-positive, and an average of 2,500 people a week die of AIDS-related causes, according to health officials. Mugabe has been criticized for not doing enough to fight the disease, but government officials noted that Zimbabwe is one of the few nations to have instituted a tax to raise funds for combatting the disease (Reuters/MSNBC.com, 5/27).
Zimbabwe Examines Link Between Malaria and HIV
In related news, researchers from Zimbabwe's Health and Child Welfare Ministry will soon begin a research project to examine a possible link between malaria and HIV/AIDS, Xinhua News Agency reports. Exnevia Gogo, senior medical research officer at the Blair Research Institute, said investigators want to determine whether people with HIV/AIDS are "more susceptible" to malaria or if they experience a more severe form of the diseases. "We want to prevent any other insult on the patient who will have been diagnosed to be HIV-positive," Gogo said. Malaria affects more than two million people in Zimbabwe each year. Gogo added that another research project that began last October is investigating a possible link between schistosomiasis and quicker HIV disease progression (Xinhua News Agency, 5/25).