Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

06 June 2012

UNAIDS: TRIPS and the potential impact of free trade agreements


For long-time HIV activist and Coordinator of the Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV (APN+) Shiba Phurailatpam, the importance of sustained access to affordable AIDS medicines is more than a trade, legal or logistical issue: “It is literally a matter of life and death for people living with HIV,” Phurailatpam says. “More than 60% of people in need of HIV treatment in Asia-Pacific still don’t have it.

Across the world, millions of people need access to HIV treatment, today, to keep them alive.

Antiretroviral drugs have changed the way in which HIV is viewed—from a death sentence to a chronic illness. That achievement was propelled by a surge in donor funding and by the drastic reduction of the cost of first-line antiretroviral regimens from around US$ 10 000 to under US$ 100 per person per year over the past decade, due in part to the increased availability of low-cost generic medicines.

Over the past decade, more than 6.6 million people have received antiretroviral therapy in developing countries across the world.  At the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS in New York in June 2011, governments from around the world made a bold pledge to get all people eligible—an additional nine million people living with HIV—on treatment by 2015.

But at this time of opportunity, the sustainable future of HIV treatment programmes remains of serious concern. Countries are facing mounting challenges to produce or procure affordable HIV treatment, including cutbacks in AIDS funding and a proliferation of increasingly restrictive intellectual property measures in free trade agreements.

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