Health GAP Welcomes New Global HIV Treatment Goals

Contact: Matthew Kavanagh 
Health GAP Welcomes New Global HIV Treatment Goals: 
Governments Must Address Generics, Close the Funding Gap, & Deliver On Human Rights to Move from Words to Action to End the AIDS Crisis

For Immediate Release   

September 25, 2014

New York, NY—Health GAP (Global Access Project) today welcomed the roll out of new strategic HIV goals for treatment of HIV, announced on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session by Presidents of South Africa, Mali, Ghana, and Switzerland, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and UN officials. The new goals set a target of getting as many countries as possible to achieve “90/90/90 by 2020”—90% of people living with HIV know their status, 90% of those are accessing HIV treatment, and 90% of those on treatment have achieved an undetectable viral load.

“These new targets focus  for the first time on coverage plus quality—ensuring people have access to quality programs and can achieve an ‘undetectable’ viral load, which is critical to save lives, halt disease progression, and prevent new infections,” said Asia Rusell, Director of International Policy. “Governments must make this a priority—which requires a radical redesign of programs, getting the opportunity for treatment to all people in need with low-cost generic medicines and through human rights based programs that get medicines much loser to communities.”

We applaud Secretary Kerry for supporing these targets—we must end AIDS; we must achieve 90/90/90. But funding is falling far far short and we have to ask: where’s the funding to meet these targets? U.S. Bilateral HIV programs has been cut by over $600 million in the last few years,” said Amanda Lugg, Chairperson of Health GAP. "We have the science, implementation capacity, and the vision to achieve universal access to testing, treatment, and quality care, but we need commitment and money as well. Small investments in expanding PEPFAR and Global Fund spending now - less than a billion new dollars a year will save millions of lives and tens of billions of dollars in the future.  The House of Representatives this year included an extra $300 million for the PEPFAR program—we call on Sec. Kerry to do everything we can to increase funding this year.”

“The practice of turning people away from HIV treatment because they’re not yet sick enough—their CD4 count hasn’t fallen enough—is NOT an evidence-based practice,” continued Russell. “Its time that every person, regardless of CD4 count, had a chance to understand the benefits and risks and to start HIV treatment if that is what they choose. With funded human rights structures in place to ensure this choice is meaningful and freely made, achieving 90/90/90 should make its way into every country’s national plan, Global Fund concept note, and PEPFAR plan."

“Meanwhile, we must also address the critical question of the price of new medicines--deadly attempts to roll back intellectual property flexibilities that allow generic drug production in India and other middle-income countries could make a joke out of 90/90/90. We call on the Obama administration and all governments to commit to supporting public health over drug company profits,” said Lugg.

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