Dutch-Bangla Bank Agrees To Pay for Antiretroviral Treatment for 23 Women, Children in Bangladesh
The Dutch-Bangla Bank has agreed to pay for antiretroviral treatment for 23 HIV-positive women and children in Bangladesh, bank officials said on Wednesday, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. "The patients will get the drugs free of cost through two local groups who work with HIV and AIDS patients," Mojammel Hussain Khan, a senior official at Dutch-Bangla Bank, said. AIDS advocates in Bangladesh said that the bank's offer represented the first time that a private company has agreed to provide financial aid for HIV-positive people, many of whom cannot afford antiretrovirals, according to AFP/Yahoo! News. Habiba Akhter -- executive director of Aashar Alo Society, one of the two groups working with HIV-positive people in Dhaka, Bangladesh -- said that the country's government and international donors have been spending funds on prevention and awareness campaigns but have not focused on providing antiretroviral drugs for people who already are HIV-positive, according to AFP/Yahoo! News. "We hope more business houses will now follow in the footsteps of the bank," Akhter said (AFP/Yahoo! News, 5/11). According to UNAIDS, there were 13,000 HIV-positive people in Bangladesh in 2002, and a study funded by the United Nations in 2004 showed that the number of HIV/AIDS cases in the country had tripled in the last six years (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.