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AIDS Between Science and Politics$
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Peter Piot

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166263

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166263.001.0001

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The Right to Treatment

The Right to Treatment

(p.89) 5 The Right to Treatment
AIDS Between Science and Politics

Peter Piot

, Laurence Garey
Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the quest for an effective treatment for AIDS and efforts to provide universal access to treatment. In the early 1980s there were no effective treatments against viruses on the market, except acyclovir for herpes simplex and amantadine for influenza. The discovery of antiretroviral therapy in the 1990s changed the lives of millions of people living with HIV, as well as how the world perceived AIDS and the epidemic. HIV infection was no longer a death sentence, and there was hope that one day the epidemic could be stopped. Since then more than thirty antiretroviral drugs have been marketed. In 1999 and 2000 the first generic antiretrovirals arrived on the world market, mainly produced in India by companies such as Cipla and Ranbaxy. This move by the Indian generic industry fundamentally changed access to medicines in low-income countries, in particular sub-Saharan Africa, by introducing generic price competition of drugs still under patent. In 2000 major pharmaceutical laboratories also agreed to lower the price of antiretrovirals for low-income countries as part of the UNAIDS-WHO Accelerating Access Initiative.

Keywords:   AIDS treatment, HIV, antiretroviral therapy, antiretrovirals, drug prices, generic drugs, UNAIDS-WHO Accelerating Access Initiative

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