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Shattered Dreams?An Oral History of the South African AIDS Epidemic$
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Gerald M. Oppenheimer and Ronald Bayer

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195307306

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195307306.001.0001

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Defiance: Creating Islands of Treatment

Defiance: Creating Islands of Treatment

(p.157) 5 Defiance: Creating Islands of Treatment
Shattered Dreams?

Gerald M. Oppenheimer

Ronald Bayer

Oxford University Press

Despite the government's intransigence regarding antiretroviral treatment, islands of access to such care began to materialize in the late 1990s. Clinical investigators capitalized on the interests of pharmaceutical firms in conducting research in South Africa. Appalled international humanitarian relief organizations, including Doctors Without Borders, sought to underwrite limited treatment efforts. And within the corporate sector, some of South Africa's largest firms extended medical coverage to include antiretroviral therapy, either through health insurance or directly through company clinics. Those who pressed for such innovations believed that by demonstrating the efficacy of treatment, they would not only meet the clinical needs of patients, but provide a powerful antidote to the stigmatization attached to HIV infection and a moral challenge to President Mbeki and his administration. They were aided in their efforts by an innovative and effective grassroots organization of HIV positive people and their supporters, the Treatment Action Campaign.

Keywords:   HIV/AIDS, treatment, research, clinical trials, rationing, patient selection guidelines, Doctors Without Borders, Treatment Action Campaign, TAC, antiretroviral therapy, Anglo American Corporation

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