Hesperian Health Guides
Everyone deserves access to ART
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ART is necessary for children with HIV. Even a very sick child can take ART and regain her health. And now with ART, these children can grow up to have their own children born without HIV.
Taking ART is also very important for pregnant women, because it can prevent their HIV from passing to their babies during pregnancy and birth (see Chapter 7: Prevention of HIV in children and mothers).
But really, everyone deserves treatment — to stop HIV, and to have healthy families and healthy communities.
All over the world, people have fought together for their governments to recognize the problem of HIV and AIDS, and to provide access to medicines and social services — and we are still fighting. This book includes stories of communities working together, especially in Chapter 14 and Chapter 15.
When sufficient resources are not being made available for children and those who care for them, the human rights of people with HIV are being violated, and our communities’ right to health is being denied. This is more true now than ever before.
We know now that ART medicines work, but large pharmaceutical companies and governments of wealthy countries are now making it harder for children and poor people to get the medicines they need.
We know now that nutrition is as important as medicine to keep people with HIV healthy, but food access, food sovereignty, and food for poor people are neglected or under attack by large agricultural companies and governments of wealthy countries.
Now that we know how to beat back both the spread and the harm of HIV, we cannot allow those with the power to stop it to turn their backs.
We have seen how food, medicine, and community action have brought a whole generation back to life from the edge of death. As this book shows, we know what must be done to end this epidemic. We must struggle together as individuals, communities, and countries to prevent as many new infections as possible, especially in babies and children, and for our right to live and be healthy with HIV. Because HIV is no longer a death sentence.