Global Activist Workshop provides input on AIDS Leadership

Delegates at the workshopDelegates at the workshopASRU researcher Eduard Grebe helped organise a workshop of AIDS activists from Southern Africa, Ukraine, India, China and Mexico as part of the aids2031 initiative's Leadership Working Group. ASRU has also conducted background research on leadership in the AIDS response for aids2031. The workshop debated present challenges in the global AIDS response, including access to antiretroviral drugs (particularly newer drugs and those used for second-line, third-line and salvage therapy), access to TB and hepatitis C drugs, and the backlash against AIDS-specific funding.

The activists identified intellectual property protections (incl. as required by the TRIPS agreement and by bilateral trade agreements) as a substantial barrier to greater access to medication, particularly in poor countries. Indian generic manufacturers are increasingly constrained by patent applications on pharmaceuticals (until recently India had not recognised patents on medicines), threatening access to affordable medications in much of Africa. American activist Gregg Gonsalves made a presentation via video conference, based on his paper jointly written with ASRU director Nicoli Nattrass, "Economics and the backlash against AIDS-specific funding". The specific needs of most at risk populations (incl. Injecting Drug Users, prisoners, men who have sex with men and African women) received particular attention. Specific recommendations were formulated and will feed into the preparation of the final aids2031 report, "An Agenda for the Future", due by the end of the year.