A Human Question: 15th International AIDS Conference in Bangkok - 1
Director: T. Jayashree
Duration: 01:01:36; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 8.881; Saturation: 0.122; Lightness: 0.341; Volume: 0.155; Cuts per Minute: 18.859; Words per Minute: 32.265
Tracing the story of the global struggle to make HIV/AIDS drugs more affordable and available, A Human Question raises key questions of whether private ownership of knowledge can be at the cost of human life?
aids conference shots
Television showing black South African woman talking about AIDS medicines
Centre, participants in queue at cybercafe, general shots of participants
HIV affected man talking about his experience and treatment
Thai girl putting sticker, organizer speaks about Gilead
Boy speaking in English against Gilead, shouting "shame"
Man putting up anti-Gilead stickers, TV crews
Protestors squirt red paint on Gilead material
General shots, billboards, cafeteria, multimedia presentations
Mark Hayes : I'm Mark Hayes, I'm from New York, from Housing Works. I serve as a community organizer and lobbyist. We're the largest community-based AIDS service provider in the US. We're the largest minority-controlled agency in the US. We came out about 12-13 years ago because nobody was providing services to active drug users who were homeless and HIV positive. In those days, if you wanted to come into a program or try and get housing or services, you had to prove that you had been clean and sober for 90 days. So there was a huge group of people that weren't being served. And that's basically how we came about
Mark Hayes from New York introduces himself as a community organizer and lobbyist.
active drug users
community organizer and lobbyist
largest community based aids service provider
Discusses the work of the organization and the services they provide.
Today we do job training...you know, our clients go through a rigorous programme, when they graduate we bring them on staff, and we've had a pretty good retention rate. It's the largest HIV specific job training programme in the US. We do primary medical care, we've run 3 AIDS adult day healthcare programmes. Those are full all-day programmes, that's 7 days a week, 6 hours a day. They combine primary care with substance abuse services, access to mental health care, in a situation where nutrition kind of ties in, so they come and have breakfast, go through their program, have a good lunch. By doing that, we're monitoring a group of folks that otherwise would be very high utilisers of services. And it's a group that really needs stabilization. So we also do both congregate and independent housing. We've got a transgender housing program which is the only one that I'm aware of in the US. And we have a lot of transgender clients. We also do needle exchange in several locations. And we devote a lot of our energy and time and resources to advocacy - political outreach, in NY city, in NY state level, on the US level, and here at the global level.
good retention rate
hiv specific job training program
mental health care
primary care with substance abuse services
Discusses the conference and the problem of broken promises, points to the Gilead group as being problematic in its messaging.
(Q : What impression do you have...) Well, this is the first international conference that I've been to. I just overheard in the hallway, this conference is about promises. It seems to be about, from my point of view, a lot of broken promises, recycled promises...we're here...I've been working with a group of activists that's been doing the parade, and the demonstrations, and the...and we keep doing it. The thing is that there are so many people you could target, I mean they just targeted the Gilead group over there, right? Because of that study targeting sex workers to see if ___ will work as a preventative, right? And the fact is they're giving this drug to people who are at high risk of HIV. They know they're high-risk. They want to see if it'll stop infection, but they're not giving them any other HIV prevention information. They're not telling them to use condoms. And they're also not providing ART to anybody that converts to HIV positive during their study. So they took over the Gilead group. But why not take over the ________ right across the aisle, who raised the price of ___ in the US 400%, just because they could? Now the only thing that I can think of from their point of view that might justify that kind of gross gouging is that people use to prescribe ___ full strength and they no longer...now it's a smaller dose to boost other drugs in your system. But that kind of gouging, we could have easily, you know...why not do that one instead of that one?
HIV prevention information
Discusses the demonstrations that have taken place in the conference.
(Q : The demonstrations are written into the conference. It's like ok, we give you your ten minutes, and you're happy with it...) Or the other day it was 2 minutes, you know. But I think the Thai people, especially the Thai Drug Users Network, view this conference as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get some attention, get some help. They're really upbeat in general and they're enthusiastic, and they're in dire straits. You mentioned the free trade agreements, and that's one of the things that we're looking at too. Especially for Thailand, Thailand has done successful phase 1...frontline treatment for a limited number of people. They've got phase 2, or second line drugs, I'm not sure which term is right, but second line therapy I think is what it's called, almost online, and they're one of the few people looking at generic pediatric dosing. So for them to actually sign on to this free trade agreement would be a disaster for them. I think it's fuelled by US protecting the profits of big pharmacy. You know, it's a pretty shameful thing. And if you look at some of the successes like Brazil, who just said no, we're not going to sign your agreement, didn't India do the same thing? (J : They're still stalling..) You should stall. And the one thing that US also holds up - the ability to do compulsory licensing as an issue. And I think that's false, that's a red herring. I don't think they really care about compulsory licensing. But what it does in the negotiations is - it makes the country that they're negotiating with fight so hard to hold on to compulsory licensing that some of the other issues just go right by. And I think that's something that's possibly happening in the free trade here in Thailand. I say possibly because you haven no access to the draft document unless you're on the committee that's doing it. But there was a comment made by somebody, and I don't know the local political people, they said they weren't going to make the same mistakes they mad in the Singapore agreement. So from that, you can only conclude, and it's total conjecture, that it may be close to the Singapore agreement, which would not be a good document. And we would encourage the Thai government not to sign that. They are so close here. So that's kind of where we are. And we'll be putting it in our sights.
free trade agreements
thai drug users network
Talks about patents and generic and branded drugs.
There's proof...if you talk to the folks at Doctors without Borders, or Medicins san Frontieres, that... people misunderstand what generic is. The only thing that makes these combinations generic is that nobody's patented that particular combination. And therefore it's generic. It works just as well as the three things by themselves. But with generics, I think the other that most of the world, or at least folks at home don't really understand, is that you have people who are getting limited access to frontline therapy, but very primitive tools for diagnosing when that's failing, and no generic options for second line. So if you can provide first line therapy at 300 and some odd dollars a year, but then second line goes to 5000 dollars a year, even if they could predict when it was needed, how could they actually afford it? So the demonstration that happened the other day against the G7 countries is really accurate, I mean the US, in particular, and certainly the other G7 countries have an obligation to come through on promises that were already made, and were made with lots of pomp and fanfare. And it's time to deliver instead of recycling promises.
doctors without borders
generic and branded drugs
medicins san frontieres
Talks about what he hopes to achieve in coming to the conference.
(Q : Where do you see all this going?) I don't know. We're hoping, or our hope coming here was that this conference could do for intravenous drugs what Durban did for treatment access. Thailand's a particularly extreme example because of their campaign to round up and shoot drug users. But I think there's many parts of the world...I heard a guy in the seminar the other day who was from Russia, who said in his file it said it wasn't worth treating him because he wasn't a benefit to society. So how do you...you know, that's the message, they don't say that, they don't articulate that in the US, but certainly the Bush administration's actions indicate that they feel the same way. So we're hoping really to raise that awareness. I don't think any of us came here with any illusions that this conference was going to solve massive problems. You draw attention to the problems, and maybe through things like these demonstrations, which have gotten a lot of Thailand press, limited press in the States. But it's a way you hope to ratchet up the pressure a little bit. It's difficult, they do this every two years. And sometimes you see progress in between, sometime you don't. We're making progress in the pharmaceutical world, but the pharmaceuticals aren't sharing it with the rest of the world, and coming from the US, where we pay more money for drugs than anywhere else on Earth, I feel like we're really gouged, totally gouged. I mean, if you look at the prices we were just talking about - 300 per generic, we don't have generics; 5000 for second line. One HIV drug, the price of the average HIV drug in the US is 5000 a year. So for your first triple combination, it's 15000 dollars a year. And in America, there are nine doctors to every one pharmaceutical sales representative. And they lobby on all levels, federal governments and state governments, and they donate money to both parties, and they're very powerful politically. Unfortunately, American politics is fuelled in a large part by money, holding and money. We're hoping...we're part of an organization called AIDS vote in the US, and I can give you some literature. We're trying to make AIDS an issue in this presidential election between Kerry and Bush, and unfortunately a lot of middle Americans think that Bush is doing an o.k. job. They hear that he's promised these billions of dollars for global aids, and don't pay attention to the fact that the money is not real. It hasn't come through. And as an American it's embarrassing to say this, but an awful lot of people in America are quite happy as long as they can put gasoline in their SUV's, and choose not to see the greater ills at home or abroad. But we're trying through AIDS vote to make AIDS an issue. We've finally gotten John Kerry to make some promises if he gets elected to put more money into AIDS, both at home and abroad, to lift the travel ban. That's why we've never had, 20 years into the epidemic, well....15 years into these conferences, an international conference on US soil...because they won't let folks in, right? So we'll see, we're certainly, I'm certainly going...
aids vote in the us
pharmaceutical sales representative
Housing Works as an organisation is bipartisan, because of US laws, and we're a not-for-profit organisation, we cannot contribute money to political organizations, or we can't endorse a candidate. So this would be me speaking as a person - we really need to get rid of Mr Bush. He's done more harm for not just the world, but for the US as well in 4 years. It'll take us 20 years to fix it. So, I think that's the other point of AIDS vote - I'm hearing a lot about the US not living up to its global promises here. But they're not doing such a great job at home. We have 60,000 people in the US that don't have access to HIV medication because they're uninsured; the states are free to set their own limits on certain government programs, so we've got people that are dying on waiting lists, and we've got people that can't even get on a waiting list. So there's work to do at home and there's commitments to be fulfilled abroad.
Gives his personal political opinion on the US presidental evection.
access to hiv medication
us presidental evection
Shots of billboard, Ranbaxy stall, general, African PSA's