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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
AIDS Activists Applaud ASEAN Drug Initiative

November 6, 2001
Agence France Presse (11.06.01) - Tuesday, November 6, 2001

Southeast Asian AIDS activists hailed an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) declaration Monday to launch a four-year war on the regional HIV/AIDS epidemic. The program would include the supply of affordable drugs for people living with AIDS. "People living with HIV/AIDS need care and support not only for improving their quality of life, but also so they can continue to make a positive contribution to society and be able to work and look after themselves," Indonesian AIDS activist Yachintha Desembriartista said. Desembriartista, head of the Hati Hati Foundation in Bali, said support included health and social services as well as adequate supplies of drugs for treatment and reagents and testing equipment.

ASEAN leaders adopted an ambitious program to combat HIV/AIDS and warned that drug use threatened to overtake sexual transmission as the major cause of infection. It identified 14 programs -including access to affordable drugs, condom promotion and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission - that need to be executed. Secretary-General Rodolfo Severino said ASEAN would look into the feasibility of negotiating with companies to obtain essential HIV/AIDS drugs at affordable prices.