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Access to Medicines

Universal Access

Today some 4 million people have access to antiretroviral therapy (ARVs). While access to ARVs has shown significant improvements in the past decade, an estimated 5.5 million more people are in urgent need of treatment and still unable to access the life-saving drugs. All United Nations member states have made the commitment to reaching Universal Access to prevention, treatment, care and support by the end of 2010. But we have a long way to go to reach that goal, and pressure must be maintained on leaders at all levels to keep their promises.

Learn more:

  • Benchmarking AIDS: Evaluating Pharmaceutical Company Responses To The Public Health Crisis in Emerging Markets Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility - PDF (EN)
  • Benchmarking AIDS: 2006 Year End Update - PDF (EN)
  • Patents versus patients: five years after the Doha Declaration Oxfam - PDF (EN, ES)
  • Campaign for access to essential medicines Medecins Sans Frontieres - PDF (EN)
  • Access to medicines: a 2006 EAA briefing paper on the links between Trade and HIV - PDF (EN, ES, FR)

Children living with HIV

While the global response to AIDS has accelerated, not enough has been done to meet the needs and rights of children. In 2008, there were 280,000 deaths attributed to HIV in children under the age of 15, most of which could have been prevented through early diagnosis and effective treatment. Although the number of children receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) has increased significantly in recent years, at the end of 2008 less than 40% of the 730,000 children needing ART in lower- and middle-income countries were receiving it.

Learn more and take action

Right to food and access to medicines

The link between access to food and access to health, including access to medicines, is not new. A Haitian proverb underlines the connection between medicines and food: “Giving drugs without food is like washing your hands and drying them in the dirt”. The relation between hunger and malnutrition and that of HIV/AIDS is delaying ARV rollout in poor settings. Good nutrition is important because it can improve antiretroviral compliance. Hungry and malnourished children and adults are not only more likely to fall ill, but they are also less able to benefit from treatment because medications are both less effective and cannot be taken on an empty stomach.

Learn more about the Right to Food

ARV Game

Only available in french

Children's Letter Writing Campaign
Keep the Promise Resource