The National Assocation of People Living with AIDS/HIV,NAPWA (SA) has initiated the Treatment Action Campaign to draw attention to the unnecessary suffering and AIDS-related deaths of thousands of people in Africa, Asia and South America. These human rights violations are the result of poverty and the unaffordability of HIV/AIDS treatment.
The Treatment Action Campaign calls on the Minister of Health, Dr. Zuma and Trevor Manuel, the Minister of Finance to meet immediately with the National Association of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (NAPWA) and HIV/AIDS NGOs to plan for resources to introduce free AZT for pregnant mothers with HIV/AIDS.
The TAC also calls on the government to develop a comprehensive and affordable treatment plan for all people living with HIV/AIDS.
In support of this demand and campaign, 10 people will fast between 07h00 and 19h00 on the 10 December 1998 on the steps of St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town. The message people living with HIV/AIDS have been getting from government and even health-care workers is that, there is no treatment available for HIV/AIDS, it is an incurable disease and we are all going to die. This message which underlies government policy on treatment is not the whole truth.
There are many viable treatment options available for most of the illnesses which affect people living with HIV/AIDS (including treatments which attack the virus directly). The problem with these treatments is affordability. We call on the government and the pharmaceutical industry to work together as a matter of urgency with NGOs and people living with HIV/AIDS to develop a plan to provide affordable treatment.
In launching this campaign we aim to mobilise people living with HIV/AIDS, their friends, families and supporters to bring their voices and demands to the debate on HIV/AIDS treatment issues. This day of action is the first step. On 21 March 1999, the TAC and NAPWA will mobilise 1000 people to fast in the major towns and cities to pressure the government and the pharmaceutical sector to seriously address the need for equitable and affordable access to treatment and care for all people with HIV/AIDS.
A press conference will be held at 07h15 and ar 12h30 at St. George's Cathedral steps 10th December 1998. For further information contact: Peter Busse Director: NAPWA--082-901 0691 and Zackie Achmat (021) 423 5026 / 788 5058