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Staying alive at what cost?

30 July 2008

Lower cost HIV/AIDS medication is certainly on the agenda for the 20,000 scientists, researchers and treatment specialists expected in Mexico City next week for the International AIDS Conference.  Business Wire explains the economic issue:

Certain world bodies classify Mexico as a middle-income country using Gross National Income (GNI) as its measure. The country has a per capita income of roughly US $7,310; however, AIDS drug treatments that can cost as little as US$150 in what are designated least-developed or low-income countries in Africa and elsewhere (e.g. Uganda, Malawi) can cost as much as US$8,000 in Mexico–or about 9.5% more than and average person’s income, making these lifesaving AIDS regimens all but unaffordable to the majority in need there.
This is in part because middle-income countries are usually not offered the same drug price reductions as low-income countries. However, when it comes to country classification, higher overall average income–middle-income versus low-income–does not necessarily indicate less poverty, and GNI, which divides a country’s total income by its total population to arrive at an estimate of average individual incomes, often obscures the fact that the majority of a country’s citizens may live in poverty.
Or, that HIV and AIDS — like other preventable diseases — tend to affect the poorest the most.
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