Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune Examine Effect of Zimbabwe’s Economic Crisis on Access to Antiretrovirals
The Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune recently published articles examining how the economic crisis in Zimbabwe has affected HIV-positive individuals' access to antiretroviral drugs. Summaries of the articles appear below.
Chicago Tribune: Access to antiretroviral drugs for HIV-positive Zimbabweans has become more restricted than ever because of inflation, a lack of foreign currency to buy imported drugs and President Robert Mugabe's urban evictions campaign, the Tribune reports. According to the United Nations, hyperinflation in the last three months has pushed the average cost of a month's supply of antiretrovirals in Zimbabwe from $7.70 to at least $17, "a fatal increase in a country where the average laborer earns the equivalent of $20 a month," according to the Tribune (Salopek, Chicago Tribune, 12/25/05).
- Los Angeles Times: Zimbabwe's "economic collapse," including hyperinflation and high unemployment, has led to the scarcity of antiretrovirals and other medications, the Times reports. According to Zimbabwean health officials, the country's lack of foreign exchange has resulted in a shortage of antiretrovirals because local manufacturers are unable to import necessary drug components. Pervasive political and economic disorder over the past few years and decreasing international donor funding means that many Zimbabwean "doctors are wary of starting antiretroviral programs unless they are sure the treatment will be sustained," the Times reports (Dixon, Los Angeles Times, 12/25/05).