Agence France Presse (10.30.03) - Friday, October 31, 2003
An international conference of people living with HIV/AIDS
ended in Kampala on Thursday with a call to the global
community and the world's governments to help patients obtain
free drugs to fight the disease.
"The international community should provide more of these
drugs and give accessibility to them than they are currently
doing, while national governments should move towards free
provision of the drugs," said a conference statement read by
Stu Flavell, international coordinator of People Living with
HIV/AIDS Global Network.
"The international community has not given as much as they
should," said Ugandan army Major Rubaramira Ruranga, who is
HIV- positive. Iranian delegate Amir Morada said his country
is providing free drugs to 1,000 patients out of the country's
5,000 known cases.
The conference brought together community activists and
nongovernmental organization workers to give "new positive
leadership" to the AIDS struggle.
On Sunday, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni called on fellow
heads of state to exert political leadership in the fight
against AIDS. Conference participants included HIV-positive
children ages 11-18 who spoke to delegates about their fears,
hopes and expectations.
At the start of the conference, Uganda announced that it would
provide antiretrovirals to people at a cost of less than 50
cents per day. About 20,000 Ugandans have access to the drugs.