10 September, 2001
For Immediate Release.


AIDS activists throughout Central America are planning a series of demonstrations next Wednesday September 12 in six countries to protest the Honduran government's refusal to provide anti-retroviral medication to an estimated 5000 People Living with AIDS who currently need them.

While activists in Honduras stage a protest in front of their country's Congress in Tegucigalpa, their counterparts will be demonstrating outside of Honduran embassies in Costa Rica, Panamá, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

"Its time to call attention to genocidal human rights violations against People with AIDS by the Honduran government," said Costa Rican activists Guillermo Murillo, adding, "the anti-retroviral medications have dropped 75% in cost during this year and it is only because prejudice and discrimation that the government Honduras is not providing medications." Murillo pointed out that India's generic AIDS producer, CIPLA has offered triple therapy cocktails for as low as $350 in Central America, but that governments need to take the initiative to establish ties with CIPLA, and other generic manufacturers.

"Every day in Honduras People with HIV/AIDS are dying needlessly" said Rosa Gonzales coordinator of the Honduran National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS. "If we have to die, we'll die protesting our rights," she added. Gonzales has called for a massive showing of support on Wednesday in front of the nation's Congress and has demanded meetings with Congressional leaders.

Murillo indicated that AIDS activists in the other Central American countries are showing solidarity for their Honduran brothers and sisters, by organizing demonstrations in each country. "Only as a region united are we going to achieve our goal, which is universal access to ARV's in Central America," he stated. Only in Costa Rica do all People Living with AIDS receive anti-retroviral medications, the result of a 1997 Court decision.

"One of the major problems we have here in Central America is the continuing silence of the International Agencies who should provide support and leadership for local governments in obtaining needed medical treatment. UNAIDS, PAHO, and the World Health Organization give "lip service" to treatment access and do nothing concretely to resolve the problems here, said activist Richard Stern, who is also based in Costa Rica. "It looks more and more like they are completely 'owned' by the U.S. government or multi-national companies. Its incredible how little is being done, given that anti-retroviral medications have now been available in rich countries for almost seven years!"

For more information contact:

Richard Stern, Costa Rica 506-234-2411 rastern@sol.racsa.co.cr

Guillermo Murillo, Costa Rica, 506-433-8522 memopvs@hotmail.com

Rosa González, Honduras, 504-554-4988 fundacionllaves@hotmail.com

Odir Miranda, El Salvador, 503-298-3950 jomiranda@navegante.com.sv

Orlando Quintero, Panamá, 507-225-9119 probidsida@cwp.net.pa

Flor de Maria Alvarado, Nicaragua, 505-777-8623 fraraalvarado@hotmail.com

Erickson Chicklayo, Guatemala, 502-250-1033 info@gentepositiva.org.gt

(Spanish version available)

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