South Africa has a very addictive and dangerous new drug, Whoonga, made from ARV-medicines: it causes very violent behaviour which has already led to the massacre of two families; with hundreds of patients being robbed at gunpoint by warring gangs each day…
South Africa, a nation of about 50-m citizens and another 5-million illegal black Africans, has an estimated 5.7-m people infected with the human-immune-deficiency virus which leads to the killer AIDS. The government said they recently also found another 905,000 new infections amongst the 4.8-million people they had tested. They feel they are winning the fight against AIDS. However, instead they might be fuelling the gang-warfare over the new drug Whoonga – which is manufactured from antiretrovirals designed to extend the lives of HIV-infected people…
The SA government sees their latest test-results as an indication that they are winning the fight against the deadly sexually-transmitted virus - a sentiment recently also echoed by US secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Massive new funding is now pouring into South Africa’s fight against the HIV-AIDS epidemic and its companion disease, extremely drug-resistant Tuberculosis... http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/12/152858.htm.
However, because of the ready availability of ARVs, a new danger has now announced itself over the past two years, starting in Zululand: Carol du Toit of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence warned of the rapid rise of the addictive drug WHOONGA in SA townships: Whoonga is mixed with Stocrin ARV-medication, heroin and/or marijuana and bulked out with rat-poison and household scouring agents… (Stocrin also is known under the names Efavirenz and Sustiva). And the crime-syndicates are attacking AIDS-patients, clinics and pharmaceutical supply trucks at gunpoint just to get their hands on these life-extending drugs…
Big bucks earned by pharmaceutical companies:
They now are widely available in South Africa, and on Dec 15 2010 the SA government announced its latest tender-awards to international drugs companies for purchasing antiretrovirals, the expensive drugs-cocktails which do not cure anyone - but merely stave off the onset of full-blown AIDS for a few years.
- Tenders for a total of R4,2-billion for the next two years went to Aspen (40.6%), Sonke Pharmaceutical (21.9%); Medpro Pharma (10.1%), Abbott (9.8%), Aurobindo (3.1%), Adcock Ingram (4%), Cipla Medpro SA (5.1%), MSD (0.2%), Specpharm (0.9%); Strides (4.2%).
Stock price of pharmaceutical companies affected by SA drugs-tenders:
Clearly from the initial test results announced by the Zuma cabinet, the epidemic rages amongst a vast network of economically-dependent young people who all demand access to these very expensive drugs - and get them.
Also obvious is that the AIDS-epidemic has become such an important growth-industry in South Africa that stock-prices of international pharmaceutical companies are affected whenever the ANC-regime announces its new tender-awards for ARVs.
- This year, Adcock Ingram pharmaceuticals' CEO Jonathan Louw said he was “very disappointed in the latest tender results." Indeed: Bloomberg's financial pages reported a sharp 4.3% drop to R58,99 in its share price...the worst in seven months; after news that it had secured only R166.5-m of the South African tender compared with the previous tender's R663-m.
Testing for HIV has improved:
There now are between 3,000 to 4,000 centralised public health clinics to test for HIV (depending on which source you are reading). And many Western donor-countries are still rushing in equipment and funds to improve the testing facilites. Last month for instance, the German's Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering also recently donated a R15-m mobile lab for rapid field-testing of HIV, TB and malaria in the Tygerberg Cape Town region.
Most ARVs are funded by Western governments
Moreover, most of the costs for these ARVs are funded by the US and other Western governments. For instance, in Dec 2009, the USA announced an additional $120-million grant and The Netherlands also expanded its financial support to the ANC-ruled SA Aids Foundation so that more ARVs could be purchased.
However countrywide, the Zuma-cabinet recently admitted that only some 1-m people were now receiving treatment. In Western societies these ARVs – which are very expensive -- can extend HIV+ patients' lives for up to 15 years or longer if administered under close medical supervision.
- In South Africa, the virus often is so much more lethal that especially if the patient also is co-infected with drug-resistant Tuberculosis, they can die within a month, even if they are administered ARV’s in combination with the antiobiotics which normally are quite effective as a cure against ‘ordinary’ Tuberculosis...
NEW WHOONGA DRUG-WAR:
Over the past two years, warns Carol du Toit, many patients are being mugged for their ARV-medications or are selling them, AIDS clinics are being robbed at gunpoint and some health-care officials have also been caught selling the drugs to the Whoonga-market.
Her claims are still being widely ignored by government officials, amongst others by the SAPS in Gauteng -- the most-populated and most crime-ridden province of South Africa. Moreover Patrick Abok of the UN's World Health Organisation in Johannesburg also claims to have 'no information on whoonga use'.
Yet reports are growing that drugs-syndicates are even carrying out armed attacks on clinics to get their hands on the stuff. These syndicates, operating in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Western Cape, raid clinics, mugged Aids patients and attacked distribution trucks. The government's more than 3,000 treatment sites also are targeted.
Massacres over Whoonga at Itshelimnyama and Shongweni townships near Marianhill – eleven people including 3 children slaughtered:
Durban police also believe two recent massacres are related to whoonga, in which 11 people, including three children, were killed at Durban's Itshelimnyama township and at Shongweni near Mariannhill.
Whoonga makes people ‘ extremely violent and irrational ‘
A survivor of the Shongweni massacre in Zululand said the four men who raped both his sisters and murdered one were high on drugs. Thokozani Sokhulu who runs the anti-drug project ‘‘Project Whoonga’’ in nearby Clermont told The Citizen that the new drug of choice in the area, Whoonga, made people extremely violent and irrational. A gang entered the Mabhida family home, killed Coshela, 48, raped his wife Angelina, 58 and their daughter, Sindi, 25, and killed her four children Njabulo, 9, Sphesihle, 7, Owami, 6, and nine-month-old Andiswa. And eight male body was unidentified. The eight were shot, the women raped, and the family locked inside the house before it was set alight. http://www.tios.co.za/tearful-relatives-shocked-at-brutal-killing-1.1001054
Many Aids-activists, city councillors and healthcare workers in the four provinces said there were up to 100 new cases a week of Aids patients being robbed of Stocrin, also known as Efavirenz (sold by Sonke Pharmaceuticals) and Sustiva. Sustiva apparently often causes ‘very erotic dreams in its users, it is being reported on Western websites. http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SideEffects/Archive/Various/Q26052.html
About 75 Aids patients a week are being robbed of their medication in Durban's Umlazi township; •More than 25 patients a week in Durban's Clermont township; syndicates target government vehicles delivering drugs: recently an attack was thrwarded at the Mzamo clinicat St Wendoline near Mariannhill outside Durban;
And some addicts have even deliberately infected themselves with the HI-virus to secure a regular supply of Stocrin from state health services. The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in the Eastern Cape also recently launched an investigation into allegations that clinic nurses were selling Stocrin to crime-syndicates. One of the main companies selling this drug in South Africa is Sonke Pharmaceuticals: its major shareholder is Ranbaxy of Gurgaon, India.
Who gets treatment and who doesn’t?
The battle to turn ARVs into Whoonga greatly endangers the SA government’s AIDS-prevention programme: in 2007/8, a total of 549,700 people were receiving ARV-treatment while another 1,7-m HIV+ people still went without in SA at that time; and the Zuma-government then launched a major drive to increase the number of patients given ARVs.
- Since that time, Whoonga has also emerged - first in Zuma's own province of KwaZulu-Natal, the most state-aid-dependent province of South Africa.
Durban's health director Ziphi Dladla started warning earlier this year that AIDS patients in Zululand "diced with death each day by selling their arv-drugs to drug dealers."Selling your arv's is like telling the doctor to switch off the life support machine. They are willingly succumbing to death and don’t care what happens to them."
- The scourge spread rapidly from KwaDabeka township in Durban in 2008, infiltrated taxi ranks and rural townships among users as young as 14 years of age.
- It is made up of dagga (marijuana) or heroin, and mixed with the ARV medication Stocrin. It is also known as Efavirenz and Sustiva.
Essentially, the tablet is crushed and sold in powder form as a straw. To increase bulk, Rattex (rat poison) or Vim (a household cleaner) is often used.
Sanca-Zululand’s Rheka Kanaye said whoonga has become the preferred drug for dagga users selling at just R20 a ‘joint’ or cigarette. ‘It is either smoked, injected or snorted to obtain a high,’ said Kanaye. ‘There has been talk from users that this new mixture cannot even be detected by police dogs. ‘Those who have been using the drug ‘sugars’ are now being sold whoonga to get more people hooked.
Crime has soared due to Whoonga-use:
in Zululand patients sell their ARV medication to the detriment of their health. ‘We have patients who are making deals with drug dealers and selling individual pills,’ said a local health care worker.
‘They know they can come back to the clinic and demand more because they are going to die. They return critically ill, many with a high fever. We calculate medication according to a 31 day supply and they are supposed to return on a stipulated day for a refill. We are now running short of our supplies and have informed the KZN Department of Health.’
The Zululand Observer reported that this trend has spread to families infected with HIV-AIDS: they take turns each month to sell their ARVs and then share medication with family members...
Ziphi Dladla said parents should be on the lookout for glaring side effects of the drug especially with teenagers.
- ‘Withdrawal symptoms for whoonga users include excruciating stomach pains, bad headaches, thirst, night sweats, laziness, hallucinations, slurred speech, drowsiness, nose bleeding, insomnia, bad dreams, excessive sleeping and over-eating. Yet the user goes back for more: “Once one is hooked, it is very hard to let go,’ said Dladla.
HIV/AIDS donations to South Africa since 2007:
* 18.1% prevalence age 15–49
* 350,000 annual deaths by 2007
* 1,400,000 orphans by 2007
* 549,700 people were given ARV-treatment in 2007
* 1,700,000 more people needed ARV-treatment in 2007 - from 2008 UNAIDS/WHO global AIDS epidemic report July 2008
- http://www.cdc.gov/globalaids/Global-HIV-AIDS-at-CDC/countries/SouthAfrica/ email@example.com;