Sunday 26 January 2020

State must keep HIV-aid promises

Many people believe that Ireland should cut its spending on foreign aid projects and, at this time of economic belt-tightening, it's easy to see why. But it is important to understand that going back on what we have promised can have life-threatening consequences.

At this moment there are 10 million HIV-positive people around the world who don't have access to the antiretroviral drugs that would keep them alive. Imagine discovering you are HIV-positive and desperately need treatment, only to be put on a waiting list until someone else dies and you can take their place.

In many places the drugs are already being rationed. When stocks of drugs ran out recently in South Africa's Free State province, no new patients were allowed to enrol for treatment; as a result, 3,000 people on the waiting list have already died.

This week, as the International Aids Conference takes place in Vienna, we must decide that we owe it to humanity to hold firm to our promises.

Sophie Chaix
MEdecins Sans FrontiEres/ Doctors Without Borders,
Dublin 4

Irish Independent

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