About "Living with HIV/AIDS in India"

In March 2005, India passed a new patent law that is likely to have global ramifications in the treatment of AIDS patients—especially those in the developing world—who depend on India’s generic drug industry to provide drugs well below the prices charged by multinational pharmaceutical companies.

In order to join the World Trade Organization, India had to fulfill the obligation to recognize and protect global patents. The bill that was passed in March 2005 meets this requirement.

Much of the mainstream press has emphasized a business perspective when reporting this development, focusing on India’s opportunity to tap the Western generic drug market while only briefly acknowledging the potentially devastating impact of the new rule on vulnerable populations.

Using audio recorders, photographs and video, we plan to document the lives of families struggling to buy ARV drugs to keep a family member healthy; the challenges that stigmatized AIDS patients face in trying to earn enough money to buy the lifesaving treatment; activists desperately searching for new sources of inexpensive ARV drugs or lobbying the Indian government to grant compulsory licenses to continue producing cheap drugs.

We visited AIDS shelters and hospices in and around Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. The project will harness the Internet to showcase an issue with global ramifications—not just as information but as a way to involve viewers. A multimedia grassroots expose can completely bypass the traditional media gatekeepers to help people gain awareness of a pressing issue.

We hope the project will not only inform people around the world that India’s new patent law is likely to have a global impact, further aggravating the AIDS health crisis, but also allow them to spread the information widely using built-in Internet technologies.

We also hope the multimedia slide presentations, photographs and videos moves people become involved in this vital issue.