[Ip-health] WHO Draft HIV/AIDS Strategy 2011-2015: MSF WHA intervention

Joanna Keenan joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Fri May 20 06:57:43 PDT 2011

WHO Draft HIV/AIDS Strategy 2011-2015

65th World Health Assembly Agenda item 13.6

Intervention by Katy ATHERSUCH, Médecins Sans Frontières

Chairman, Director General, Honourable delegates, Médecins Sans Frontières
welcomes the ambitious goals and strategies in the draft HIV/AIDS strategy

WHO showed strong leadership in issuing treatment guidelines in 2010 that
recommend earlier treatment with better drugs.

A recent MSF study shows that many countries have changed their treatment
protocols to follow these recommendations.  This progress is encouraging,
but it remains fragile: several countries are unable to fully implement
improved treatment protocols because of funding constraints. This means
keeping people on inferior drugs, or treating people only once their immune
systems are weak.

Further scale-up of treatment is needed to save lives, reduce illness, and
diminish the risk of HIV transmission. Latest scientific evidence shows how
early treatment can reduce the spread of the virus, by lowering the level of
virus in people’s blood sooner.  The conclusive results of the recent NIH
trial show how treatment must be used as a vital prevention tool and as an
essential component of a prevention strategy. Treatment initiation at CD4
350 is the clinical minimum that should be achieved everywhere.

Over six million people living with HIV in developing countries are now on
ARV treatment.  But another 10 million people are in urgent need of
antiretroviral treatment now.

At the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS in June, countries will be committing
to the blueprint for the next decade of the global AIDS response.
Ban Ki-Moon has asked them to support a treatment target of at least 13
million people on treatment by 2015, however some governments refuse to
support a target, and the target in the latest draft declaration remains
blank. We call for a treatment target of 15 million.  An ambitious treatment
target is important if a credible global response is to be mounted to break
the back of the epidemic.

Member States must implement policies that will enable access to treatment
to be maintained and scaled up. Ever greater protection and enforcement of
intellectual property in developing countries significantly limits the
availability of affordable medicines, particularly for newer generations of
treatments. TRIPS flexibilities must be used and ‘TRIPS plus’ policies
rejected to ensure generic competition.  Other mechanisms to reduce the
price of patented medicines should be supported, like the Medicines Patent
Pool.  We call on companies to enter into negotiations with the Pool.

Countries must also commit to exploring innovative sources of financing, in
particular a financial transaction tax, to generate additional, sustainable
and predictable revenue aimed at combating HIV. Thankyou.

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