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December 4, 2009

New Initiative: “Positive Charge” to Help Address Barriers and Provide Support to People Living with HIV/AIDS

"The National AIDS Fund (NAF) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) announced today their intention to launch “Positive Charge,” a new multiyear initiative aimed at helping to break down the barriers that prevent people living with HIV from receiving HIV care, treatment and necessary support. The initiative is slated to launch in January 2010. ...

"Bristol-Myers Squibb commissioned a national survey over the past year to better understand the barriers to HIV testing, care and treatment. The survey concluded that there are significant personal, societal and structural barriers that prevent people from taking action. 'It’s sad, but true that in 2009, stigma still plays a huge role in preventing people from getting tested and into care,” said Ms. Ferree. “We are proud to work in collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb to help break down these barriers by creating a targeted initiative that supports collaborative and highly coordinated, community-based efforts to reduce barriers and provide the supportive services people living with HIV/AIDS need to effectively access health care.'"

Read more in National AIDS Fund, November 30, 2009.

Comment: We are skeptical of pharmaceutical industry initiatives. Most are self-centered fragments that don't deal well with the big picture, the overall needs, though the community may use the programs due to desperation. We take this effort more seriously because it seems to have a solid basis in mutual self-interest, and have a plausible partnership as well. Addressing and overcoming the real barriers to medical care for HIV is essential, to support individuals and also to reduce transmission, decreasing the epidemic. And a successful program will profit corporations, by bringing many thousands of new people into medical care, including antiretroviral prescriptions in many cases.