Tag Archive for India

Who Ends Up Paying for This New Health Plan?


The question a lot of people have to be wondering with the upcoming new health care act is: who in the end will pay for all the costs? It sounds wonderful but in a real world, someone has to pay.  With millions uninsured that now can recieve medical attention the cost will be passed on but where?

The International AIDS Conference brought that question up this week is whether all 34 million people in the world with HIV can possibly get antiviral drug treatment. New guidelines released at the Washington meeting call for everybody with HIV to be started on anti-retroviral drugs as soon as they test positive for the virus. New research shows that’s better for their long-term health, and it will help end the pandemic because people in treatment are less likely to infect others.

Dr. Bernhard Schwartlaender of UNAIDS is convinced it can be done. He pointed out in a plenary session speech that the economies of many of the world’s poorest countries are growing. “Let us not accept the notion that we cannot find the relatively humble resources to pay for the basic services that mean life for those in greatest need,” Schwartlaender told his audience. “The world overall is getting richer. We have to make it fairer.”

Schwartlaender offered up several possible ways to raise the money. A tax on shipping and aviation fuel could raise $64 billion — and help reduce global warming at the same time. A levy on financial transactions — some call it a Robin Hood tax — could raise $150 billion (but has been blocked so far by the U.K. and other wealthy nations). Schwartlaender also proposes tapping the fines levied on big pharmaceutical companies for their marketing practices.

Another conference speaker, Dr. Andrew Hill of Liverpool University in England, made a strong pitch for the same kind of taxes that many U.S. states already impose on alcohol and tobacco. Hill says money collected this way could solve a dire problem many countries will face as the U.S. and other wealthy nations pull back on AIDS funding.The tax could be as little as 1.5 cents on a bottle of beer and 10 cents on a pack of cigarettes. “The money collected would be enough to achieve universal access to HIV treatment in 10 of the worst-afflicted countries in the world — Russia, China, India, Brazil, Vietnam, Thailand, Ukraine — there are other examples,” Hill told Shots. “So it could go a long way. And it’s actually a very small increase [in] tax.”

It seems like alcohol and cigarettes always are taxed for some reason.  I’m guessing that’ll be a huge fight with those industries if that angle is imposed.  We’ll wait to see who pays in the end.

Tom Thayer

info: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/07/26/157362343/treating-everybody-with-hiv-is-the-goal-but-who-will-pay

Did You Know There’s More Than 1 Strain of HIV?


While many people don’t know it, there’s more than one kind of AIDS virus. Besides the HIV-1 strain that’s common throughout the world, a type known as HIV-2 is found in some parts of Africa. Now, a new study finds that people infected with HIV-2 and later with HIV-1 appear to be better equipped to fight off the virus. Appear is the key word here to remember.

Double-infected people can still go on to develop AIDS, and there’s no indication that anyone infected with HIV-1 should go out in search of HIV-2. We don’t recommend it at all. In fact, you can get re-infected and possibly mess up your medication regiment so caution is always advised.

However, “this study should prompt researchers to take a fresh look at HIV-2 infection” and why it seems weaker, and the potential implications for a vaccine, said Sarah Rowland-Jones, an AIDS specialist and professor of immunology at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England.

The big questions, she said, are these: Is there something about the HIV-2 virus that makes it less dangerous to the human body’s immune system defenses? Or is it perhaps the other way around, and the body’s defenses are the key? “If we understood this, it would have a lot of relevance for HIV vaccine design,” said Rowland-Jones, who’s familiar with the new study’s findings.

The HIV-2 strain is largely found in West Africa and hasn’t spread much beyond there, although there have been cases reported in Europe, India, Japan and the United States. .

The new study looked at West Africans in the country of Guinea-Bissau and focused on 223 people who first became infected with HIV-2 and then with HIV-1 or those who only got the HIV-1 strain. The researchers tracked the patients for about 20 years. They found that it took an average of 104 months (nine years) for those with dual infections to develop AIDS, but just 68 months (nearly six years) for those infected solely with the HIV-1 virus. So now they’re researching this angle of the virus in hopes of finding answers.  Again, we caution anyone is is HIV+ with another HIV+ person to be extra careful with sexual relations to ensure you’re not at risk for jeopardizing your health.

Tom Thayer

info: http://news.yahoo.com/infection-2-hiv-strains-slows-disease-progression-210608127.html?_esi=1

Summer Beach


A beautiful sand sculpture in India…..

Team ARE

AIDS Stigma in Myanmar Similar to USA


The South Asian country of Myanmar (most remember as Burma) sits at the crossroads of Asia’s great civilizations of India and China and looks out onto the vast Indian Ocean next to Thailand.  But HIV/AIDS is plaguing the new leadership there.  The plight demonstrates the painful limits of Myanmar’s new democracy. A reform-minded government has vowed to overhaul a decrepit health system, but little change is likely for HIV/AIDS sufferers, who thanks to social stigma and medical neglect, are shut off in hospices that bring to mind leper colonies.

In 2009, the United Nations estimated 240,000 of Myanmar’s 60 million people were infected with HIV and about 18,000 were dying a year. Neighboring Thailand, with a slightly bigger population, has more than twice the number of people with HIV but access to drugs and greater public acceptance mean that many can lead normal lives.

Ma Jam, 42, a mother of six, and Kanama, aged 2, (see pic) are both HIV+. Abandoned by their families, they must now find comfort in each other, although Jam still yearns for her husband to return to the private HIV hospice in the suburbs of Myanmar’s biggest city. “He promised to come back but I’m afraid he never will,” said the woman as she burst into tears. She is known in the hospice by her nickname, Jam.

Her neighbors would allow her to return to the village, she says. “But they will not talk to me, because they know my illness is dangerous.” Not that Jam is going anywhere. Weak and skeletal, she can barely walk or talk. She doesn’t eat and is responding poorly to the drugs the hospice gives her.

The NLD, or National League for Democracy, won historic by-elections in April by a landslide, sweeping its leader, Suu Kyi, and 42 other members into parliament. The government threatened to close the centre in 2010 after Health Ministry officials warned of “the possible spread of infectious disease from the patients”, reported the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

Jam’s story of rejection is shockingly common, the article continues telling of an HIV sufferer who was left to starve by villagers, then possibly cremated while in a coma. “HIV patients are often left alone and abandoned by the family,” it says.

Doctors Without Borders, a medical aid group, says some 85,000 HIV-infected people in Myanmar are not getting treatment because of a lack of funding, despite an increase in international engagement with the government. Health workers accused Myanmar’s former military rulers of largely ignoring the disease when it began to spread in the 1990s, particularly among sex workers and drug users. Some groups predict the situation will only worsen despite more attention on AIDS and the country’s nascent democracy. We here in the USA have our share of problems but just try to imagine what other impoverished countries face and those living with HIV? Now you know.

Tom Thayer

info: http://news.yahoo.com/myanmar-stigma-neglect-add-hiv-misery-050159815.html

AIDS Activist-Ashley Judd


Ashley Judd grew up in a family of successful performance artists as the daughter of country music singer Naomi Judd and the sister of Wynonna Judd. While she is best known for an ongoing acting career spanning more than two decades, she has increasingly become involved in global humanitarian efforts and political activism. Judd has played lead roles in films including Ruby in Paradise, Kiss the Girls, Double Jeopardy, Where the Heart Is, and High Crimes.

She become the global ambassador for YouthAIDS, an international campaign to raise awareness and combat the spread of HIV/AIDS, Ashley Judd has spent almost as much time among the destitute, ill, and sexually exploited in Third World countries as on film sets. 

“I have a lot more insight into why this work is so fantastically meaningful to me — what it is about orphans and vulnerable children that touches me in a way I can’t describe,” she says.

“I’ve learned that I am a precious child of the universe, and I have a right to be here, and I can share that. It’s wonderful,” Judd says.

Her travels have taken her to Africa, where she toured Kenya, South Africa, and Madagascar. She held hands with gravely ill AIDS patients in a hospice, talked about condom use with commercial sex workers, and hosted HIV education events for villagers in communities where the sexually transmitted disease (STD) rate approaches 20%. She’s made similar journeys to Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Thailand, Cambodia, India and other countries. This young woman is amazing and its nice to know that some truly care about others in the world and not just the glitz and glamour of the big screen.  Thank you Ashley, we honor you for your AIDS work among others.

Tom Thayer

info: http://women.webmd.com/features/ashley-judd-global-aids-activist


Clintons HIV Medicine Proposition


Former President Bill Clinton has a plan to curb the ever rising costs of HIV medications.  He announced his idea back in Dec 2011 but more people are now talking about it which sounds intriguing.

He suggested that the US Government allow low cost generic versions of patented HIV meds to be sold domestically until the Affordable Care Act takes effect in 2014.  This would help people with HIV who can’t afford their medications during the 2 years till the new health law becomes effective.  This would effect thousands of HIV individuals across this country. 

Clinton suggested that inexpensive generic drugs, which are mainly manufactured in India for use in Third World Countries, be made available to low-income HIV+ Americans that are currently waiting on the ever growing ADAP Wait List.  There are well over 6,000+ persons waiting and Virginia is ranked #2.

Clinton also said that there are over 900,000+ American citizens who are HIV+ and not on any medications since they have no health insurance and can’t afford the drugs.  Research has proven that persons with HIV who are on meds can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus by 96%.  This makes sense in the big picture when the already overburdened medical system has to treat HIV clients through emergency room visits when pro-active work can be done to stop this.  Its good to see former high ranking officials still fighting the fight even after office.  Thanks Bill… I mean Mr. President, Bill..

Tom Thayer 

info: POZ march 2012