LONDON It's time for some very clear thinking about how to deal with the appalling impact of AIDS in Third World countries, particularly in Africa, where most of the world's cases reside and where some devastated communities are 70% HIV-positive. Five leading pharmaceutical companies have dropped their Third World prices dramatically for components of HAART (highly active retroviral therapy), which for those who can afford it has turned a diagnosis of HIV positive from a death sentence into something considerably more bearable.

Fourteen of the drugs that can be used in HAART are listed below, and prices in the rich world will remain the same at around $10,000 a year for a full 'triple therapy', but the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS have negotiated immense price reductions for seven of them: AZT + 3TC will be available in Africa at US$2 per day, 3TC at US$0.58 per day, Nevirapine...

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