KAMPALA, Uganda, June 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- As global AIDS treatment funders such as PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and the Global Fund retreat from ongoing commitments to provide lifesaving antiretroviral treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world, thousands of people already on treatment are losing access to antiretroviral treatment via programs and providers that are placing caps on the number of people allotted access to treatment slots in countries like Uganda. AIDS patients, medical providers and activists from the Consortium for Access to AIDS Treatment (CAAT) and the National Forum for People Living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda (NAFOPHANU) will host a press conference Wednesday, June 16th in Kampala to decry these caps, which are happening in programs run by governments as well as those run by some private providers. Advocates view the caps as a death sentence, as they prevent any new patients from enrolling in AIDS treatment; in addition, many patients who are already on treatment are losing access to their lifesaving AIDS medicines.

WHAT: PRESS CONFERENCE-Ugandan AIDS Patients Activists to Protest and Block Caps on Treatment Slots for Access to Lifesaving Antiretroviral Treatment

WHEN: WEDNESDAY, June 16th 11:00am WHERE: AHF's Uganda CARES Secretariat-KAMPALA Plot 1-Baker Road, Nakasero (P.O. Box 22914), Kampala, UGANDA VISUALS: - To be determined (TBD)

Activists at the press conference will announce advocacy efforts to try and block and reverse the caps, including plans for a protest march to highlight the havoc that the caps are wreaking throughout Uganda. One grave concern the advocates will raise is the fact that thousands of individuals who have already been on treatment have now been dropped due to caps in enrollment. I was part of a five year research study receiving antiretroviral treatment in Tororo and as many as one-thousand of us were dropped from treatment when that study ended, said Namuyomba G. an activist with the National Forum for People Living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda (NAFOPHANU) We were told to go back to another provider who has told us the number is too big and they are capped. Many of us have no treatment now. This situation is simply not acceptable.

At the press conference, members of CAAT, the coalition of AIDS advocates in Uganda, will declare their intention to fight the caps that are being imposed on the treatment of HIV/AIDS patients in the country. CAAT will announce plans for a patient march to stir moral indignation at the turning away of new patients for life-saving therapy.

CAAT has rallied around four demands:

1. KEEP YOUR PROMISE - The promises of funding and access to treatment by the United States and other donor countries must be met. US funding is falling billions short of what was pledged only two years ago.

2. TREATMENT FIRST - Continued access to drugs and treatment must be given the highest priority over any other service but especially administrative overhead and indirect costs which are eating up billions of US dollars.

3. ACCOUNTABILITY/EFFICIENCY - Uganda has received trillions of shillings - more than enough to pay for every person with HIV who needs treatment. Where has the money gone? Why does it cost so much to treat each patient? The system must be made more efficient. The lives of hundreds of thousands of Ugandans lives depend on it.

4. $20 BILLION UGANDAN SHILLINGS FOR AIDS DRUGS NOW - The Ugandan Ministry of Health must reprioritize its AIDS budget to free up money to stop the cap on new treatment slots. This is a small percentage of total AIDS dollars coming into the country that will save 100,000 lives.

SOURCE: AHF Uganda CARES on behalf of the Consortium for Access to AIDS Treatment (CAAT)

CONTACT: UGANDA: Media Contact, Dr. Penninah Iutung, AHF Africa BureauChief, Mobile l: +256-77554333, Mobile: 082-490-2413, Email:Penninah.iutung@aidshealth.org; or US: Media Contact, Terri Ford - InUganda, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Senior Director of GlobalPolicy/Advocacy, Mobile: +1-213-399-1001, Email: Terri.ford@aidshealth.org; NOTE TO EDITORS: Uganda CARES Office +256-414-346-311 (or below mediacontacts)