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Even as conference speakers hailed the encouraging scientific advances, questions remained unanswered: How to make sure people remain on treatment, how to achieve universal coverage and how to reduce the risk of people abandoning condoms? Sidibe said these questions needed urgent answers.
And, he added, any discovery must be translated more quickly into policies accessible to those who need treatments, particularly in poor nations. Sidibe also said any trade agreement that would limit access to medication, especially generic ones, should be opposed.
That concern was shared by Elly Katabira, the president of the International AIDS Society and conference chair, who said: "I hope our voice will be heard in asking that access to all drugs, including generic drugs, will not be diminished by new laws or regulations anywhere in the world."
Gilead Sciences Inc., based in California, is a major producer of AIDS drugs. Two of its pills -- Truvada and Viread -- were used in the recent studies conducted in Botswana, Kenya and Uganda. The company has recently agreed to allow a range of its AIDS drugs to be made by generic manufacturers, potentially increasing their availability in poor countries.
The conference organized by IAS gathers some 5,000 researchers, scientists, clinicians and public health experts. It runs through Wednesday.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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