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May 11, 2009

Africa Urged to Begin Manufacturing HIV Drugs

The African Union’s commissioner for social affairs, Bience Gawanas, is strongly encouraging the continent to produce its own generic HIV medications in order to boost its economy and provide treatment access to more HIV-positive Africans, Reuters reports.

According to the article, a majority of the 33 million people living with HIV globally reside either in Africa or other developing countries. Currently, South Africa is the only African country that manufactures its own HIV drugs.

“Some countries in Africa now have 80 percent of people with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral drugs,” Gawanas said. “But if there are cuts [in support from donor countries], can that progress continue? We need to mobilize local production.”

Michel Sidibé, the recently appointed executive director of UNAIDS and the first African to hold the position, said that it’s his priority to ensure that all Africans living with the virus have access to medication.

Search: Africa, Bience Gawanas, Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS, antiretroviral

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