Around 38 million people are living with HIV (the virus that leads to AIDS). 95% of these people live in developing countries.
Scientists have developed anti-AIDS treatments that can people keep alive and healthy for up to twenty years, but most of the people living with HIV are too poor to afford them. If patients receive drugs and other care, HIV is a manageable illness. Unfortunately, unfair trade rules, crippling debt and insufficient and ineffective aid are stopping poor people from getting the AIDS care they need - and the consequences are fatal.
The virus has already claimed the lives of 20 million people, and left 15 million children orphaned. As people die, communities lose their mothers, fathers, producers, public servants and future leaders. In some countries teachers are dying of AIDS faster than replacements can be trained.
Complacency and inaction from G8 members (the group of the 8 most powerful political leaders) has taken a treatable, preventable disease and turned it in to a global emergency. Stephen Lewis, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy on AIDS in Africa, has called the situation 'mass murder by complacency'.
When the UK hosts the G8 summit in July 2005 it has the opportunity to change the course of the epidemic, and make AIDS history. The Stop AIDS Campaign is demanding that Tony Blair and other G8 leaders commit to a binding timetable for providing access to HIV and AIDS care and treatment for all who need it. Each month we will chart progress towards that goal at www.stopaidscampaign.org.uk.
Access to care and treatment can never be a reality without action on trade, debt and aid.
Unfair trade rules mean drug prices are set too high for poor communities to afford them
Debt repayments mean poor countries can't build up their health systems
Insufficient and ineffective aid means countries don't have the money they need to buy drugs and other treatments for their people
Make AIDS and Poverty History. For more information see