Posts tagged hiv/aids

See the new documentary ‘Fire in the Blood’ at IFC Center in New York City through Thursday. An intricate tale of “medicine, monopoly, and malice,” it tells the story of how Western pharmaceutical companies and governments aggressively blocked access to affordable AIDS drugs in Africa and the global south, leading to ten million or more unnecessary deaths. It is also the inspiring story of the improbable group of people who decided to fight back. Get details

See the new documentary ‘Fire in the Blood’ at IFC Center in New York City through Thursday. An intricate tale of “medicine, monopoly, and malice,” it tells the story of how Western pharmaceutical companies and governments aggressively blocked access to affordable AIDS drugs in Africa and the global south, leading to ten million or more unnecessary deaths. It is also the inspiring story of the improbable group of people who decided to fight back. Get details

The U.S. and 11 other countries are negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP) in secret. Provisions of the deal could keep affordable lifesaving medicines out of the hands of people in developing countries. We want negotiation texts made public. 

The U.S. and 11 other countries are negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP) in secret. Provisions of the deal could keep affordable lifesaving medicines out of the hands of people in developing countries. We want negotiation texts made public. 

HIV TREATMENT COSTS
The price of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs may have dropped around 99% over the past decade, but access to treatment remains an issue. Patents on new ARV drugs cause prices to skyrocket, making them unaffordable for people in low and middle-income countries. 
Learn more in MSF Access Campaign’s 16th edition of Untangling the Web

HIV TREATMENT COSTS

The price of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs may have dropped around 99% over the past decade, but access to treatment remains an issue. Patents on new ARV drugs cause prices to skyrocket, making them unaffordable for people in low and middle-income countries. 

Learn more in MSF Access Campaign’s 16th edition of Untangling the Web

Malawi: A Clearer Picture of the AIDS Epidemic

In Malawi, MSF is now treating 36,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, teams are taking part in an ambitious survey designed to measure the incidence of the disease, seeking to learn if HIV/AIDS is still spreading as rapidly as it was, or if transmission rates have decreased.

Photo: Blood is drawn for an HIV test at the MSF Dipping Tank community testing campaign at Nhletsheni, in Shiselweleni region. Swaziland 2012 © Giorgos Moutafis
Trying Out New Approaches to HIV Treatment
Thirty years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic and more than a decade since the introduction of antiretroviral treatment (ART) in developing countries, the latest scientific evidence shows that the treatment keeps people healthy and prevents the virus from spreading. MSF is now treating more than 222,000 people for HIV/AIDS in 23 countries and introducing new approaches to treatment including earlier provision of ART to pregnant women living with HIV, expanded testing and treatment programs, and using improving technological monitoring techniques to track patient progress. Here, Micaela Serafini, MSF medical referent, discusses MSF’s efforts to treat HIV/AIDS in Swaziland.
Why is it important to provide antiretroviral treatment to people living with HIV while their immune system is still strong?
Today, we measure the level of an HIV-positive person’s white blood cells [CD4 cells] to determine when to start them on treatment, because this is an indicator of how strong their immune system is. Right now, the World Health Organization recommends starting people on ART when their CD4 cell count drops to 350 cells per mm3 of blood, but asks countries to consider earlier ART for pregnant women and HIV-positive partners in couples where one person is HIV-positive and the other is not, or “sero-discordant” couples. A healthy person’s CD4 count ranges from 800 to 1,200 cells per mm3—the lower the count, the more prone a person is to becoming ill from opportunistic infections like tuberculosis.
In Swaziland, MSF is studying the feasibility and acceptance of the “Test and Treat” (T&T) model, the most radical option of Treatment as Prevention (TasP). It involves providing all HIV-positive people with treatment, regardless of their CD4 count. This approach would allow us to have a maximum impact on reducing illness, as well as transmission of HIV in the community.
We are currently paving the way for TasP in Swaziland with the implementation of a greatly improved treatment protocol for pregnant women in order to better prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, or PMTCT, and help keep mothers healthy. The protocol is referred to as “Option B+.” In a nutshell, PMTCT Option B+ is T&T for pregnant women—we aim to start all HIV-positive pregnant women on life-long treatment, regardless of their CD4 count.
This new pilot project is just starting in the south of the country, in the Shiselweni region, which has a population of 208,000 people. We hope to start PMTCT B+ this month and from there put 3,000 pregnant women on ARV treatment every year. In 2013, we will expand this approach to other vulnerable groups and eventually to all HIV-positive adults in the region.

Photo: Blood is drawn for an HIV test at the MSF Dipping Tank community testing campaign at Nhletsheni, in Shiselweleni region. Swaziland 2012 © Giorgos Moutafis

Trying Out New Approaches to HIV Treatment


Thirty years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic and more than a decade since the introduction of antiretroviral treatment (ART) in developing countries, the latest scientific evidence shows that the treatment keeps people healthy and prevents the virus from spreading. MSF is now treating more than 222,000 people for HIV/AIDS in 23 countries and introducing new approaches to treatment including earlier provision of ART to pregnant women living with HIV, expanded testing and treatment programs, and using improving technological monitoring techniques to track patient progress. Here, Micaela Serafini, MSF medical referent, discusses MSF’s efforts to treat HIV/AIDS in Swaziland.

Why is it important to provide antiretroviral treatment to people living with HIV while their immune system is still strong?

Today, we measure the level of an HIV-positive person’s white blood cells [CD4 cells] to determine when to start them on treatment, because this is an indicator of how strong their immune system is. Right now, the World Health Organization recommends starting people on ART when their CD4 cell count drops to 350 cells per mm3 of blood, but asks countries to consider earlier ART for pregnant women and HIV-positive partners in couples where one person is HIV-positive and the other is not, or “sero-discordant” couples. A healthy person’s CD4 count ranges from 800 to 1,200 cells per mm3—the lower the count, the more prone a person is to becoming ill from opportunistic infections like tuberculosis.

In Swaziland, MSF is studying the feasibility and acceptance of the “Test and Treat” (T&T) model, the most radical option of Treatment as Prevention (TasP). It involves providing all HIV-positive people with treatment, regardless of their CD4 count. This approach would allow us to have a maximum impact on reducing illness, as well as transmission of HIV in the community.

We are currently paving the way for TasP in Swaziland with the implementation of a greatly improved treatment protocol for pregnant women in order to better prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, or PMTCT, and help keep mothers healthy. The protocol is referred to as “Option B+.” In a nutshell, PMTCT Option B+ is T&T for pregnant women—we aim to start all HIV-positive pregnant women on life-long treatment, regardless of their CD4 count.

This new pilot project is just starting in the south of the country, in the Shiselweni region, which has a population of 208,000 people. We hope to start PMTCT B+ this month and from there put 3,000 pregnant women on ARV treatment every year. In 2013, we will expand this approach to other vulnerable groups and eventually to all HIV-positive adults in the region.

"I’m Going to Tell The Whole World": An HIV "Expert Patient," In Her Own Words


In 2001, I tested positive for HIV. At that time, I was 25 years old and in a terrible state. I had lost a lot of weight, I was vomiting, had cold and hot rashes and was saying weird things. My whole body was covered with sores and I was confined to a wheelchair. Literally, I was more dead than alive.
In 2004, I started volunteering for an organization that helped people living with HIV/AIDS in Nhlangano, the capital of Shiselweni region. They asked me to share my experiences, and I told people about antiretroviral treatment and what it had done for me.

When I started seeing MSF cars in Nhlangano in 2009, I became curious and asked around. Someone told me what MSF was doing, and immediately I wrote my application letter and was hired as an “expert patient.” My role is to do pre and post-test counseling and to be there for the patients when they need support.

I really like the work with the patients. I know I give them hope by telling my story. Today I am fine. I have a healthy four-year-old boy who is HIV negative. Before I had him, five children I brought to this world had died, each after six months. My older son is 17, and he is well, too. I know what the patients are going through, and telling them my story and how important it is to stick to the treatment encourages them. The other day a young girl even told me I was her role model. That made me very happy.Photo: Thembi (right) with her two sons
Swaziland 2012 © Irene Jancsy/MSF

"I’m Going to Tell The Whole World": An HIV "Expert Patient," In Her Own Words

In 2001, I tested positive for HIV. At that time, I was 25 years old and in a terrible state. I had lost a lot of weight, I was vomiting, had cold and hot rashes and was saying weird things. My whole body was covered with sores and I was confined to a wheelchair. Literally, I was more dead than alive.

In 2004, I started volunteering for an organization that helped people living with HIV/AIDS in Nhlangano, the capital of Shiselweni region. They asked me to share my experiences, and I told people about antiretroviral treatment and what it had done for me.

When I started seeing MSF cars in Nhlangano in 2009, I became curious and asked around. Someone told me what MSF was doing, and immediately I wrote my application letter and was hired as an “expert patient.” My role is to do pre and post-test counseling and to be there for the patients when they need support.

I really like the work with the patients. I know I give them hope by telling my story. Today I am fine. I have a healthy four-year-old boy who is HIV negative. Before I had him, five children I brought to this world had died, each after six months. My older son is 17, and he is well, too. I know what the patients are going through, and telling them my story and how important it is to stick to the treatment encourages them. The other day a young girl even told me I was her role model. That made me very happy.

Photo: Thembi (right) with her two sons
Swaziland 2012 © Irene Jancsy/MSF

Last week, MSF joined thousands of protesters at the International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C., calling for governments and pharmaceutical companies to halt policies and practices that undermine access to medicines. Watch this video to hear protestors tell in their own voices why they marched.

We can’t beat this plague with the same pace of scale-up and the same funding levels as we’ve seen the last three years. We need to speed up scale-up: every day, we need to be putting more people on treatment than the day before, and that means getting into the communities to test and offer people treatment closer to home.

Sharonann Lynch, Doctors Without Borders HIV Policy Advisor

Thank you for following MSF’s presence at the 2012 International AIDS Conference!

For updates throughout the year on MSF’s work on access to essential medicines, follow the MSF Access Campaign at @msf_access, facebook.com/MSFaccess, and msfaccess.org.

The Need For Urgent HIV and TB Treatment in Myanmar. 


Tens of thousands of people living with HIV and tuberculosis (TB) in Myanmar are unable to access lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART), a dire situation exacerbated by the recent cancellation of a new round of funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria.

“Lives in the Balance,” a report from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), outlines the situation for people affected by HIV and tuberculosis (TB), with a special focus on multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), in Myanmar today. It calls for urgent funding and assistance to be made available by the international donor community to help Myanmar close the devastating gap between people’s need and people’s access to treatment for HIV and TB.
Infographic by Will Owen

The Need For Urgent HIV and TB Treatment in Myanmar.

Tens of thousands of people living with HIV and tuberculosis (TB) in Myanmar are unable to access lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART), a dire situation exacerbated by the recent cancellation of a new round of funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria.

Lives in the Balance,” a report from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), outlines the situation for people affected by HIV and tuberculosis (TB), with a special focus on multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), in Myanmar today. It calls for urgent funding and assistance to be made available by the international donor community to help Myanmar close the devastating gap between people’s need and people’s access to treatment for HIV and TB.

Infographic by Will Owen

Tuesday, MSF marched in the streets of DC with other organizations at the Internetional AIDS Conference. We told pharma to put people before profits. Millions die without access to affordable generic meds, we marched and will continue to march for them.

Tuesday, MSF marched in the streets of DC with other organizations at the Internetional AIDS Conference. We told pharma to put people before profits. Millions die without access to affordable generic meds, we marched and will continue to march for them.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement for which the U.S. is demanding provisions that would roll back public health safeguards. It would allow pharma companies to patent minor modifications of old medicines, potentially keeping prices high indefinitely, and delaying access to more affordable generic medicines for our patients and millions of others.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement for which the U.S. is demanding provisions that would roll back public health safeguards. It would allow pharma companies to patent minor modifications of old medicines, potentially keeping prices high indefinitely, and delaying access to more affordable generic medicines for our patients and millions of others.

Earlier this week, we introduced you to Mqondisi, the 17-year-old boy from Zimbabwe who is living with HIV. Today, he marched with MSF to the White House in Washington D.C. calling on pharma and the U.S. government to stop undercutting affordable medicines so that we can scale up HIV treatment and stop the virus.

Earlier this week, we introduced you to Mqondisi, the 17-year-old boy from Zimbabwe who is living with HIV.
Today, he marched with MSF to the White House in Washington D.C.
calling on pharma and the U.S. government to stop undercutting affordable medicines so that we can scale up HIV treatment and stop the virus.

In our satellite at the International AIDS conference this afternoon, we talked about how the market-driven medical research and development system leaves our field teams frustrated because the tools needed for our patients are unsuitable, unavailable, or unaffordable.Learn more here.

In our satellite at the International AIDS conference this afternoon, we talked about how the market-driven medical research and development system leaves our field teams frustrated because the tools needed for our patients are unsuitable, unavailable, or unaffordable.

Learn more here.

You’ll hear using the phrase “treatment is prevention” often this week as we report from the International AIDS Conference, so we thought we would explain what that means. Learn more about the profound implications of this scientific breakthrough.

You’ll hear using the phrase “treatment is prevention” often this week as we report from the International AIDS Conference, so we thought we would explain what that means.
Learn more about the profound implications of this scientific breakthrough.

Viral load monitoring tests the effectiveness of a patient’s HIV treatment. Because of high cost and tests that aren’t adapted to resource-limited settings, it’s not available to most people in developing countries. But for treatment as prevention to be successful, it must be a critical component of HIV programs. Learn more here.

Viral load monitoring tests the effectiveness of a patient’s HIV treatment. Because of high cost and tests that aren’t adapted to resource-limited settings, it’s not available to most people in developing countries. But for treatment as prevention to be successful, it must be a critical component of HIV programs.

Learn more here.