The US Blockade on AIDS Medicines for Cuba
The U.S. blockade prohibits the sale of food and medicine to Cuba.
Although access to HIV/AIDS medicine is a global concern, the situation in Cuba is unique and of serious concern. For over 40 years the U.S. government has tried to undermine the Cuban revolution, which brought free health care to Cuba’s entire population, and surpasses other Third World nations in health standards, rivaling the U.S. The U.S. government is trying to destroy Cuba’s not-for-profit system with its unprecedented economic blockade.
The new combination therapies that have given hope to so many people living with HIV/AIDS are not available in Cuba due to the U.S. blockade.
No company in the world that has 10% or more U.S. ownership can trade with Cuba. 80% of all medical drugs on the world market are either U.S. made or contain U.S. ingredients. This means Cubans with HIV or AIDS are denied access to any AIDS medicine, essential equipment, and supplies for testing manufactured by U.S. pharmaceuticals and their foreign subsidiaries.
The Clinton Administration fined the Merck Pharmaceutical Co. over $100,000 for attempting to cooperate with Cuba to test AIDS medication and provide it to the Cuban population. As a result, that company promised it would not cooperate with Cuba on AIDS research or sell Cuba AIDS drugs as long as U.S. sanctions exist.
Today Cuba has one of the world’s lowest levels of AIDS due to its prevention-oriented medical system with universal, free care. There are approximately 1500 Cubans with HIV and 300 Cubans with AIDS. The Live-In Health Center system for AIDS and HIV patients guarantees them priority in food and health care and special benefits. Centers exist in each province, and residence in them is voluntary.
Cuba has made the fight against AIDS a top priority, and more than two years ago its scientists began human testing of its anti-AIDS vaccine (starting with themselves) with no reported ill effects.
While a majority of Congress has recently voted to remove food and medicines from the economic blockade, the leadership of both houses, including House Speaker Dennis Haskert (R- IL), have put roadblocks to prevent any effective bill passing, and neither major presidential candidate has endorsed these bills.
You can help!!!
A major licensed shipment of medicines for Cubans with HIV/AIDS will be taken to Cuba following the United States Conference on AIDS in time for the national AIDS conference in Havana, Cuba in November. Especially needed are Zerit, Ziagen, Sustiva, Epivir, Fluconosol, and Mutivitamins.
1. Bring medical donations with you to our exhibit booth at the United States Conference on AIDS (October 1-4, Atlanta, GA) or send your medical donations to the Cuba AIDS Program at The River Fund (11086 Roseland Rd. Sebastian, FL 32958). You may also contact us directly for additional information and involvement opportunities.
2. Contact your Senators & Representatives to demand a lifting of all restrictions on trade of food and medicine with Cuba, and/or call the Chicago Cuba Coalition at 312-663-0527 or Pastors for Peace at 773-271-4817 for current legislative information.
Jairo Pedraza firstname.lastname@example.org Jeremy G. Landau email@example.com
Distributed at Chicago AIDS Walk by StanSmith44@hotmail.com
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