Clinton Foundation To Help Train Nurses in India in HIV/AIDS Care; Indian Bank, USAID To Form Corporate HIV/AIDS Initiative
Former President Bill Clinton on Sunday announced a joint partnership between the Clinton Foundation and India's National AIDS Control Organization to help train nurses in the treatment and care of people living with HIV/AIDS in India, Reuters Health reports (Reuters Health, 2/20). NACO and the foundation over the next few months will develop training materials for the program, which will focus on a range of topics, including HIV transmission, antiretroviral treatment and counseling (Clinton Foundation release, 2/19). "Nurses are a critical link in the delivery of care and treatment for people living with HIV," Clinton said (Reuters Health, 2/20). He also praised India's efforts to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS but said more needs to be done and called on public figures in the country to help reduce the shame associated with the disease (AP/CNN.com, 2/19). In related news, India-based ICICI Bank and USAID have reached an agreement to develop a corporate initiative aimed at mobilizing financial and other resources from businesses to support India's efforts to tackle HIV/AIDS, India's Economic Times reports. Funds for the initiative, called the Indo-U.S. Corporate Fund for HIV/AIDS, will come from businesses in the U.S. and India. ICICI Bank will be in charge of fund mobilization and management (D'Silva, Economic Times, 2/18).
India To Increase Number of People Receiving ARVs to 100,000
NACO Project Director Sujata Rao on Sunday announced that India plans to increase to 100,000 the number of people receiving antiretrovirals at no cost within the next three to four months, Press Trust of India reports. About 26,000 HIV-positive people currently are receiving antiretrovirals from the government at no cost, according to Rao. She added that the greatest challenge is providing people who have become resistant to first-line antiretroviral treatment with second-line treatment, which currently is not provided by the government. The government also plans to launch a campaign to promote awareness of available services at public hospitals (Press Trust of India, 2/19). In related news, Clinton on Saturday toured Cipla's manufacturing plant in Goa, the Washington Post reports (D'Mello, Washington Post, 2/18). Cipla will produce the drug abacavir for $447 per patient annually -- a price that reduces by 30% or more the cost of antiretroviral medications -- as part of an agreement reached in January between the drug company and the Clinton Foundation (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/13). "We've had a three year partnership with Cipla, and because of them an enormous number of [people living with HIV/AIDS] are alive," Clinton said. He added that his foundation plans to supply 60,000 HIV-positive children living in areas hardest hit by the epidemic with antiretrovirals this year (Washington Post, 2/18).