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5th IAS Conférence on HIV, 19-22 July 2009, Cape Town

Second and third line treatments, viral load, now and everywhere !

Act Up-Paris and TAC’s protest

publié en ligne : 22 July 2009

Cape Town, South Africa – Activists from Act Up-Paris, Treatment Action Campaign, followed by individuals from organizations such as MSF, Act Up-Lusaka, REDS demonstrated this afternoon in the exhibition room during the 5th IAS Conference on HIV that is taking place in Cape Town. They walked around the pharma companies’ (Pfizer, MSD, Tibotec, BMS, Bohringer ingelheim, Gilead) boothes to protest against the high price of 2nd and 3rd line drugs and the cost of conducting a viral load.

They organized a silent die-in at the entry of the exhibition room. They were urging drug companies to drop the price of thier drugs and of the viral load. They were also demanding the governements to promote generic drugs. Several activists expressed their concern regarding the situation regarding the access to drugs during the press conference that was following : Vuyiseka Dubula (Treatment Action Campaign – South Africa), Rolake Odetoyinbo (Treatment action movement- Nigeria), Gilles Van Cutsem (MSF), Stéphane Vambre and Pauline Londeix (Act Up-Paris, France).

A video is available here. Pictures are available here

Real world universal access to treatment implies indeed that every drug, including 2nd line and newer drugs, is made readily available. It also implies that every PLWHIV has access to complete lab monitoring (CD4 count, viral load, genotypic tests.) In order to begin the right treatment and switch if necessary.

Today PLWHIV who have access to treatments (less than 30 % of all PLWHIV across the world according to UNAIDS) rarely have access to complete lab monitoring nor to second and third line treatments even though these drugs are important because they are often less toxic and because they are required to overcome resistance. The main obstacles to access are the high price of these drugs and the cost of conducting a viral load. Patents that prevent universal access to treatment must be broken when they stand between people and treatment. The international treaties on the protection of the Intellectual Property allow patents to be broken in such cases of global pandemic and emergency, issueing compulsory licencings.


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