U.S., India Launch Joint Fund To Encourage Business Participation in HIV/AIDS Fight, Reach Five-Year Agreement on HIV, STI Prevention
President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after meeting on Thursday issued a joint statement announcing the creation of a joint fund that aims to encourage private business participation in fighting HIV/AIDS in India, as well as a five-year agreement on prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, Times of India reports (Times of India, 3/2). Bush said the U.S. initially will contribute $7 million to the U.S.-India corporate fund for HIV/AIDS, which will be administered by the not-for-profit GIVE Foundation and ICICI Bank, both based in India. The fund will seek donations from India- and U.S.-based businesses for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and control programs in India (Indian Express, 3/3). Singh and Bush also said they were pleased with FDA's fast-track approval process for generic versions of antiretroviral drugs (Hindu, 3/3). The expedited process is meant to encourage drug makers to produce generic medications to improve access to drugs in remote areas of severely affected countries and ensure the drugs' safety (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/12/05). FDA in August 2005 also agreed to begin sharing confidential information on its approvals of generic antiretroviral drugs with the World Health Organization in an effort to accelerate the distribution of low-cost medications worldwide (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/15/05). According to the Hindu, the U.S. also supports an Indian plan to make its drug regulating agency's approval process akin to FDA's (Hindu, 3/3). The two countries also agreed to expand cooperation in medical research (PTI/Hindu, 3/2). The U.S. and India have been operating a joint program to fight HIV/AIDS since 2000 (Times of India, 3/2). More information about HIV/AIDS in India is available at GlobalHealthReporting.org.
CBS' "Evening News" on Thursday examined the spread of HIV/AIDS in India, especially among truck drivers and commercial sex workers. The segment includes comments from former President Clinton and Ishwar Gilada, a physician who began the first HIV/AIDS awareness program in the country in 1985 (Logan, "Evening News," CBS, 3/2). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer. A transcript of the segment is available online.