U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Goosby Discusses PEPFAR
NPR's "All Things Considered" on Tuesday featured an interview of U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby by host Robert Siegel. Goosby discussed PEPFAR's success at treating people living with HIV/AIDS in other countries, including Haiti, Rwanda, and Botswana, as well as the cost of treatment. Goosby said, "[I]n the time that President Obama's administration has taken over the helm of PEPFAR, we have gone from 1.7 million people on treatment to close to four million people on treatment. Our ability to identify, enter and retain these individuals in treatment programs is mapped out. We know where we're going. We know what groups we have to increase our testing and outreach efforts in, and I am confident we will meet all of the World AIDS Day goals with the current budget setting." A complete transcript and audio of the interview is available online (7/3).
Program Examines Progress in Treating AIDS in Developing Countries
NPR's "All Things Considered" examines HIV/AIDS treatment progress in developing countries, where the high cost of the "triple-drug regimens that were routinely saving the lives of patients in wealthier countries," and logistical issues, such as ensuring patients would take their medication on time, led some experts to say HIV treatment was "impossible" in the earlier years of the epidemic. "But in fact, in places like Uganda and Haiti, some intrepid doctors were showing that the then-costly AIDS drug cocktails could save lives there, too," according to the program, which profiles Francois St. Ker, a 44-year-old AIDS patient in Haiti who "was on the brink of death from AIDS when the American doctor Paul Farmer started treating him with new HIV drugs" in 2001.
"In part because of stories like St. Ker's, word filtered back to policymakers that maybe treating AIDS in places like Haiti was not impossible," NPR writes. "At one point, a small group of AIDS doctors from developing countries gathered in the Oval Office at the behest of President George W. Bush," NPR states, adding, "In his 2003 State of the Union message, President Bush announced [PEPFAR], a $15 billion emergency program to treat and prevent AIDS in poor countries." NPR notes that about "seven million people around the world now take antiviral drugs that suppress HIV to undetectable blood levels" (Knox, 7/3).