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World AIDS: Bureaucracy & Greed Prevent Solution

World AIDS: Bureaucracy and Greed Prevent Solutions

Doctors Without Borders: Pharmaceutical companies abandon children with HIV to their faith

By Marietta Gross - Austria

Nairobi/Washington/Vienna - Every minute a child under the age of 15 is infected with HIV. AIDS kills 1400 children every day and takes more than half a million young lives every year. This is the sad reality facing the world on World-AIDS-Day 2005.

Bureaucracy, actions into the false direction and weak executives are the reasons why the necessary medicine doesn’t reach the poorest, reports the International Preparedness Coalition ITPC

The WHO-Project is expected to help three million infected people by the end of 2005.

"These are sad facts which come forthright from the frontline“, says Paul Zeitz, Director of the Non-Profit-Organisation Global Aids Alliance in Washington DC.

The ITPC-report was worked out by employees of the project HIV-Positive.

The science magazine Nature reports that this aim to reach three million affected people, is by far failed. The situation has worsened due to recent statistics by the UNO detailing that in addition to the 40 million HIV-positive people, another five million people were infected with the Virus.

Doctors Without Borders warn: "Without tests and pills millions won’t live to see their second birthday because of a lack of life-extending medicine."

It states that pharmaceutical companies are asked to develop HIV-medicine suitable for children – this request is not being met.

Furthermore simple and cheap tests are urgently needed to provide evidence of the disease in babies in poor countries.

"As there are no dosed combination drugs available for children, the tablets for adults must be chopped up with a mortar," reports Rachel Thomas, medical coordinator of Doctors Without Borders in Nairobi.

A lower dose could lead to the formation of resistances, a higher dose could be harmful to the children. For babies under the age of 18 months there are no tests at all.

The humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders is treating 57,000 people infected with HIV/AIDS in 29 countries. Children make up six per cent of these patients.

"In developed countries there are hardly any HIV-cases in new-borns, because a detection in sufficient time prevents the infection“, said physician and AIDS-expert Anton Petter in an interview with Austrian news agency pressetext.

Petter has worked two and a half years in Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa. Companies see little incentive to develop tests and medicines for children from poor countries, as this attracts little profit. Only a few enterprises invest into this area.

Statistics show that nine of ten children who are born with HIV/AIDS live in Africa.

Thomas says: "Doctors Without Borders has repeatedly summoned politics and industry to develop tablets suitable for children."

A definite elixir against AIDS doesn’t exist, but the disease has become treatable. AIDS is comparable with Diabetes, thinks Petter: "If a patient with AIDS is provided with medicine, it gets a treatable chronic disease."


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