Day 7: Shock and Hope

In Zambia, there are 200 new infections of AIDS each day. Nearly 1 in 7 adults is HIV positive. In young women, from ages 15-24, HIV prevalence is nearly four times that of men the same age.

Yes. And there is hope. Today, there are strong conversations and movements forward in the fight against this disease. There are wonderful organizations taking care of the sick, like the Home Based Care group that Fr. Michael spoke about.

There is also interesting messaging. Here is a local Catholic school. Imagine seeing these words every day for seven, ten, or twelve years straight.

"HIV/AIDS gives no second chance".

"AIDS is real! The beauty you see could be spreading it."

Certainly a new way to raise awareness and I’ve never seen anything like it.

In my work, I know of the wonderful mission of the Medicines Patent Pool, which is to increase access to affordable HIV/AIDS medication for those in low and middle income countries. The Pool creates the need forum for large pharmaceutical companies to put forth their patents for medicines so that generic drug companies can license them. Two benefits are reduced transactions costs as well as not needing to wait out the 20 year patent period. It also allows more research to happen, such as that needed for fixed dose combinations (meaning multiple medicines in one pill), medicines that do not need to be refrigerated (which can be crucial in hot climates) and HIV medicines for children.

The Medicines Patent Pool seeks to make medicine more affordable, accessible, and streamline the development of new drugs for those who need it most. We just need pharmaceuticals to continue to sign on!

 

 

 

***Statistics from: Avert, the International HIV and AIDS Charity.

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