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World Financial Crisis and AIDS Backlash Threaten Lives
Date:7/7/2009

" said Rose Kaberia of the Network of African People Living with HIV/AIDS, and a member of ITCP from Kenya. "Scaling back these programmes would have a devastating impact on individuals who need treatment, on the health system, which could be overwhelmed by AIDS-related illnesses, and on the progress made in reducing the number of new HIV infections in the region. In addition, national food security programmes need to be supported as a matter of urgency to safeguard treatment adherence for people living with HIV in Eastern Africa." In Eastern and Southern Africa, where the economic downturn is having a devastating impact on already meager family incomes, many women find themselves forced to choose between antiretroviral drugs and food for their families. Drugs that were once affordable may be out of reach due to currency devaluations or other economic factors.

"Women should not have to choose between lifesaving drugs and food," said Lillian Mworeko, regional coordinator for the International Community of Women living with HIV/AIDS, East Africa and coordinator of the HIV Collaborative Fund for Women & Families in Africa, from Uganda. "A decade ago, many people said that it was impossible to provide AIDS treatment to millions of people living in Sub-Saharan Africa. We've proven that it can be done and we must now show that it can be sustained, even through this global economic crisis."

ITPC's Missing the Target reports have documented the effects of drug stock-outs, supply chain problems and other issues that cause interruptions in HIV treatment and can lead to a rise in drug resistant strains of HIV, treatment failure, and death. The UNAIDS/World Bank report notes that the health of millions of patients may be threatened even by short-term treatment interruptions.

"People living with HIV/AIDS should not have to bear the burden of the global economic crisis," added Aditi Sharma. "Governments and donors
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SOURCE International Treatment Preparedness Coalition
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