For Immediate Release: September 21, 2003

Joint Press Statement
KETAM (Kenya Treatment Access Movement) – TAM (Treatment Access Movement),
Nigeria– Act Up, USA- Act Up-Paris, France - GMHC (Gay Mens Health Crisis),
USA – Health Gap (Global Access Project), USA – Jesuite Refugee Service, Kenya

WHO’s state of emergency
Two years after the UNGASS on HIV/AIDS: activists demand action on AIDS
treatment access, not more broken promises

(Nairobi) Today, during the first follow-up meeting assessing countries’
progress in fulfilling the goals of the UNGASS Declaration of Commitment on
HIV/AIDS activists attending the 13th ICASA in Nairobi, activists called for
an end to countries’ broken promises on expanding access to AIDS treatment.

The UNGASS Declaration of Commitment set time-bound clinical and fundraising
goals, agreed to by all UN Members, including a commitment to spend $10
billion annually on AIDS in poor countries. Activists claim countries are
lagging far behind in attaining these goals.

During the UN meeting today, the WHO also declared lack of access to HIV
treatment in developing countries a global public health emergency, and
outlined a “road map” for achieving access to antiretroviral treatment for 3
million people by 2005.

“Dignitaries at the United Nations in Manhattan are discussing their slow
progress in the face of the deadliest pandemic the world has seen in the last
600 years. Meanwhile in Nairobi, people living with HIV/AIDS, health care
workers, and activists at the frontline of the battle against AIDS are sharing
information about small, successful treatment programs that are saving lives,”
said James Kamu of KETAM. “The WHO’s state of emergency is nothing but a state
of denial as long as donors refuse to provide the funding that is needed.”

Activists acknowledge that some progress had been made in the formulation of
national AIDS plans by countries since the UNGASS on HIV/AIDS in 2001. Many of
these new plans lack treatment components, and without massive increases in
donor country funding, even complete national strategies cannot be
implemented. In addition, many developing countries are not using their rights
to override patent monopolies on pharmaceuticals, in order to drive the price
of medicines down through generic competition and increase access for the
maximum number of people with HIV. The USA and other rich countries continue
pressure developing countries not to make use of these rights, in bilateral,
regional, and multilateral trade negotiations.

“More than 6 million people have died since the Declaration of Commitment was
signed,” said Rolake Nwagwu of the Nigerian Treatment Access Movement. “The
goals of this Declaration are unattainable unless rich and poor countries show
real political will. For the donor countries, that means committing the
billions needed now to save lives. For recipient countries, that means
prioritizing treatment access, and making full use of existing flexibilities
in patent rules to procure quality generic drugs to save lives now—no matter
the pressure from rich countries.”

Countries that signed the Declaration of Commitment agreed to spend $10
billion each year by 2005 to fight AIDS in poor countries; already UNAIDS has
adjusted that calculation, predicting that $10.5 billion will be needed by
2005 to pay for care, support and treatment in poor countries, increasing to
$15 billion in 2007. Only $4.7 billion is being spent now on global AIDS in
developing countries.

Donors’ broken funding promises are threatening the success of the Global Fund
to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Global Fund, the only
multilateral program paying for HIV treatment in poor countries, is facing a
cash shortfall of $3 billion, because donor countries have not given their
fair share, according to activists.

For more information: contact
Asia Russell +1 267 475 2645
Gaelle Krikorian +33 6 09 17 70 55
James Kamu : + 0254 7 2288 66 94
Rolake Nwagwu: + 721 486 557
Mercy Otim: + 254 733 888 912

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