September 25th, 2017 09:38 EST
UN Still Fighting HIV
Senior United Nations officials today welcomed a breakthrough pricing agreement by global partners to accelerate the availability in low- and middle-income countries of the first affordable, generic, single-pill HIV treatment regimen.
"What we are talking about today with this life-changing announcement is about the quality of medicine, is about equity, is about the dignity, is about access to medicine as a human right," Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), told a press conference at UN Headquarters.
The pricing agreement, he explained, will help ensure that the treatment will be made available to 92 countries, and people there will be able to benefit from "one of the best medicines we have" for first-line treatment.
At around $75 per person per year, the HIV treatment regimen containing dolutegravir (DTG) will be available to public-sector purchasers in these countries.
The agreement is expected to accelerate treatment rollout as part of global efforts to reach all 36.7 million people living with HIV with high-quality antiretroviral therapy. UNAIDS estimates that in 2016, 19.5 million - or just over half of all people living with HIV - had access to the life-saving medicines.
DTG, a best-in-class integrase inhibitor, is widely used in high-income countries and is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an alternative first-line HIV regimen. It is also a preferred treatment by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents, among others.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom also welcomed the agreement, stating that "this will save lives for the most vulnerable, bringing the world closer to the elimination of HIV [ ... ] WHO will support countries in the safe introduction and a swift transition to this game-changing new treatment."
The agreement was announced by the Governments of South Africa and Kenya, together with UNAIDS and many other partners.
Earlier today, during an event entitled "Fast-Track: Quickening the pace of action to end AIDS" held on the sidelines of the General Assembly, Mr. Sidibé called on world leaders to maintain "global solidarity" to end AIDS.
UNAIDS leads global efforts to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia