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New UN-backed survey provides data for poor countries on more affordable AIDS drugs

New UN-backed survey provides data for poor countries on more affordable AIDS drugs

Aiming to help close the AIDS treatment gap in the developing world, a new United Nations-backed report was released today to help poor countries track HIV medicines, testing kits and suppliers.

Over 120 pharmaceutical products are covered in the updated "Sources and Prices of Selected Drugs and Diagnostics for People Living with HIV/AIDS," which was released by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the non-governmental organization Médecins Sans Frontières.

In addition to listing anti-retroviral medicines, the report provides information on drugs used to treat a range of opportunistic infections, for pain relief, for use in palliative care, and for the treatment of HIV/AIDS-related cancers and the management of drug dependence.

The UN estimates that over 95 per cent of the world's 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS today are in developing countries. Many of them lack access to even the basic drugs needed to treat minor ailments. In many of the poorest countries, essential drugs, including painkillers, antibiotics, and tuberculosis medicines, are in desperately short supply.

Even with significant recent reductions in the prices of many of anti-AIDS drugs, the UN warns that high prices prevent many developing countries from buying enough medicines. The Survey helps to provide information on cheaper alternatives and appropriate suppliers for these drugs.