AIDS 2012: White House Forum Print {sharethis label=}

White House Forum Highlights Medicines Patent Pool, Stigma, and Partnership with Faith Groups

Reporting courtesy of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance
A White House forum held July 24 explored the need for partnerships among governments and faith communities in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but also the tough challenge of stigma and the responsibility of the faith community to address this challenge. 
Peter Prove, executive director of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, said, "Pharmaceuticals alone will not bring about an end to the HIV pandemic, and the faith-based community has a critical role in the response through promoting social opinions and community attitudes that either enhance and enable the response, or we have to admit, impede the response."
Recognizing that partnerships are crucial, Joshua Dubois, director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships said, "The path to an AIDS-free generation is paved with partnerships."
Faith community attendees highlighted the need for faith organizations to speak up as valuable partners. As Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service said, "We have to carry our own weight," in a partnership with government. She also said that government and faith communities must realize the importance of listening to the people affected by HIV/AIDS and that partnership is "not just the faith leader preaching, it is listening to the congregation."
Gracia Violeta Ross, national chair emeritus of the Bolivian Network of People Living with HIV, emphasized that including medicines in free trade agreements between the U.S. and Central America have not helped in terms of treatment for people living with HIV, and called for any free trade agreement with India to not include medicines as if they were another less important commodity. Ms. Ross said she hoped the U.S. government would encourage pharmaceutical companies to join the Medicines Patent Pool.
The Medicines Patent Pool aims to improve access to affordable and appropriate HIV medicines in developing countries, in particular by bringing down the prices of HIV drugs and encouraging the development of desperately needed new treatments. This is done through voluntary licensing of critical intellectual property, making patents work for public health, while giving pharmaceutical companies fair compensation for their work. Visit
Finola Finnan, program lead for HIV and Gender Equality at Trocaire, and chairperson of the Catholic HIV/AIDS Network emphasized the high standard of care offered by Catholic organizations and the commitment of the church to strive for social justice. She questioned the calls to do "more with less" and stated that the reality ends up being "doing less with less" and that is not a viable option if we want to achieve an "AIDS-free generation." 
Senior director for Democracy and Development, National Security Staff at the White House said, "We may be the world's largest donor, but we are not the only leader" and asked attendees to ask other nations to "step up to the plate."
CCIH expresses thanks to the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) for providing the information for this report. 
Last Updated ( Friday, 27 July 2012 14:22 )