patent wars on aids drugs
public health or corporate wealth?
Australia and New Zealand
The world's least afflicted region, Australia and New Zealand are continuing and driving to completely finish the goals they resolved to accomplish. In 1994, the Australian government set an agenda to significantly reduce the number of AIDS related deaths and even prevalence of the virus itself, through strong promulgation of support for antiretroviral therapy, consisting specifically, of protease inhibiters. The success of the program is revealed in a mere, yet telling statistic: the number of AIDS cases in the year 2000, 255 cases, has been decreased to less than one hundred in the whole region. Granted that this relatively minute number is in large part due to the relatively small population residing in the region, the endeavors and successes of the program must still be honored. Generally, the epidemic is not as damaging in Australia and New Zealand as in other regions of the globe. However, the rural outlying states of Australia contain the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Reports suggest that this is due to the fact that those living in these regions are quite isolated and not as aware of the urban and even suburban programs initiated by the national government. Until this awareness problem is remedied, no efforts can be effectively begin. In addition to this, the lack of affordable ARV drugs at affordable prices for those living in these region are causing a problem of how to treat the situation. The government cannot continue to pour money into this without some sort of international monetary aid, or even technological support. Unless this sector of the people is cared for, Australian AIDS efforts can never rest, and can the region as a whole can never fully prosper.
HIV/AIDS Statistics: Australia and New Zealand
Adults age 15-49 living with HIV/AIDS - 14,000
Source: UNAIDS (details compiled from pages 180 onwards in UNAIDS PDF document)
Abstracted from UNAIDS AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2003
Both Australia and New Zealand were estimated to have an adult HIV prevalence rate of about 0.1% in 2003. This region is classified as having a small but relatively stable HIV epidemics. New infections in 2003 were estimated to be 1000, bringing the total people living with HIV/AIDS in the region to about 12,000-18,000. UNAIDS data indicates that 90% of HIV transmission in this region has been among homosexual men.
Access to Treatment and Care
The availability of antiretroviral therapy has caused HIV/AIDS-related deaths to decrease in New Zealand and stabilize in Australia. During 2001, fewer than 100 adult and child death resulted in the region due to HIV/AIDS.
An estimated 52% of all people bearing HIV in Australia in 2002 were treated with antiretroviral therapy. Consequent survival of those with AIDS in Australia increased from 17.4 months for cases diagnosed in 1993 to 38.4 months for cases diagnosed in 1999.
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