Lack of cooperation and a prompt response continues to kill lives… Is this how we fight for an HIV-free world?

On Sunday, May 26th, Marcos died at a hospital in Caracas, Venezuela. He was an eighteen-month-old infant who was born with HIV and developed resistance to an infection of citomegalovirus. This virus has similar characteristics to chicken pox and mononucleosis, which becomes fatal when there is a weak immune system.

What stands out about this case is that this death could have been avoided if there had been a prompt and effective response from the government, pharmaceutical companies, cooperatives, and civil organizations among others, which did not respond in a timely manner to our request to support this child. After three months of intensive searching we finally found much needed support, although it was too late for Marcos.

Starting in March, AID FOR AIDS knocked on several doors to get Foscarnet, a medication that would have improved the health and saved the life of Marcos. Unfortunately, key players in the response to HIV and AIDS did not respond early enough, and as a result, one more life was lost due to AIDS.

This article wishes to exhort healthcare authorities, pharmaceutical companies, and civil society to renew their commitment to continue working towards an AIDS-free generation. The loss of Marcos must serve as an urgent call to action in Latin America and the Caribbean to not give up or diminish our efforts to gain universal access to quality treatment for everyone, without exception.

It is important to understand that health is NOT negotiable! The grief of many parents could have been avoided if we had acted promptly, with solidarity, and had been more sensitive to these cases.

AID FOR AIDS renews its commitment to work tirelessly to continue saving lives one by one! We are also committed to preventing another Marcos from dying in our countries. We will continue carrying out our mission with your help and unconditional support to our various programs that include medication recycling, education, and public outreach.