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NPR's 'All Things Considered' 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).

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