U.S. Working With U.N., Drug Makers To Lower Cost of Antiretrovirals for Developing Countries, Secretary of State Powell Says
Secretary of State Colin Powell on Saturday told CNN that the United States is working with the United Nations and pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of antiretroviral drugs for developing countries, Reuters reports. The cost of the drugs has fallen significantly in the past three years, but "it's important to get the price down even lower," Powell said, adding, "So there are many things we have to do. ... We have to get the delivery systems in place so these drugs can be administered ... and we have to educate people so they won't need these drugs in the first place." Powell also called for continued efforts in developing a cure for HIV/AIDS, according to Reuters. He also said the funds authorized in the global AIDS bill would include education programs to encourage abstinence "in polygamous African societies," Reuters reports. He said, "So we have to attack this problem on every front" (Reuters, 6/14). Powell on Friday at the annual meeting of the Bretton Woods Committee, a not-for-profit international financial organization, said that governments must take action against HIV/AIDS in Asian countries or a "whole generation would be wiped out," the Press Trust of India reports. He added, "I am not talking about just a few people going to hospitals -- I am talking about a whole generation being wiped out. You see societies that have infection rates that go to 10%, 20%, 30%, and they are not all societies in sub-Saharan Africa." Powell continued, "It is going to happen in Russia. It is going to happen in India. It is going to happen in China. As sure as the Lord made little green apples, it is going to happen" (Press Trust of India, 6/14). Powell is scheduled today to attend a Southeast Asia security conference in Cambodia (Lee, Agence France-Presse, 6/15).
World Food Programme in Myanmar
World Food Programme Country Director Bradley Guerrant on Sunday told the Myanmar Times that the group would spend $9 million on a two-year project in Myanmar aimed at providing nutritional support for people with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other chronic illnesses, the Associated Press reports. The project will provide economic aid for the families of people who are ill and will also develop a "food-for-work" plan to reduce seasonal migration, which increases the risk of becoming infected with chronic illnesses. The project will start in Pakoku and Pauk and then be expanded to other communities in the country. According to government officials, Myanmar has 180,000 HIV-positive residents; the United Nations estimates that the number could be higher, between 170,000 and 420,000 people, the Associated Press reports (Associated Press, 6/15).