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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
MYANMAR: Report: Myanmar Desperate for HIV and TB Drugs

February 22, 2012
Associated Press (02.22.12) - Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lack of funding is causing some 85,000 people with HIV in Myanmar to go without treatment, Doctors Without Borders reported Wednesday. Myanmar's situation could grow even worse, since the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria recently suspended new grant-making activities due to a shortfall in donations, DWB said. The expected Global Fund grants could have supplied HIV medicine to 46,500 people in Myanmar and treated another 10,000 patients stricken with drug-resistant TB.

Myanmar's tuberculosis rate is nearly triple the global rate, and drug-resistant strains continue to surge. TB is a leading cause of death for the country's HIV patients. About 18,000 people die from HIV/AIDS annually in Myanmar, the UN estimates.

DWB provides antiretroviral drugs to nearly 23,000 people at 23 clinics throughout Myanmar, funding more than half of all HIV treatment being provided to 43,000 patients, said Peter Paul de Groote, leader of DWB's Myanmar operation.

Although a civilian government assumed office last year, international assistance to Myanmar has remained minimal due to its previous rule by a reclusive military government.

"Regardless of what is happening in the country, the people that are in need of treatment need treatment," said de Groote. "Of course, we all hope that the developments as they seem to be going in that direction will lead to more money into the country, but, in general, I think this money should be coming in regardless of what the situation is."