[Ip-health] Fewer Than 1 in 10 People Living with HIV Live in a Country Following Current HIV Treatment Science

Matthew Kavanagh matthew at healthgap.org
Mon Nov 30 10:38:46 PST 2015

African Men for Sexual and Health Rights; African Community Advisory Board
(AFROCAB); Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV (APN+); Caribbean
Regional Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS; Caribbean Vulnerable
Communities; Coalition Center for the Development of People - Malawi;
Coalition Plus; Delhi Network of Positive People; Eurasian Harm Reduction
Network; Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ); Health GAP (Global Access
Project); International Association of Providers of AIDS Care;
International Civil Society Support; International Community of Women
living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICW-EA); International Treatment
Preparedness Coalition; International Treatment Preparedness Coalition -
South Asia; Malawi Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS; Pangea Global
AIDS; Stop AIDS; Treatment Action Campaign;  World AIDS Campaign

*Fewer Than 1 in 10 People Living with HIV Live in a Country Following
Current HIV Treatment Science*

*AIDS Activists Call for Dramatic Policy Change in Global AIDS Response;
End to AIDS Treatment Austerity*

*New Report says Policy and Practice are Out of Step with HIV Treatment

(Harare) A new analysis released ahead of World AIDS Day at the 18th
International Conference on HIV and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Harare,
Zimbabwe shows that an estimated 1 in 10 people with HIV live in a country
where antiretroviral therapy is provided to all people living with HIV
immediately after diagnosis. Today, in policy and practice, most countries
deny a significant portion of people diagnosed with HIV the opportunity to
start treatment immediately, despite clear scientific consensus that
immediate access to HIV treatment is required in order to save lives, halt
HIV disease progression and prevent transmission of HIV. For years, policy,
funding, and implementation has lagged significantly behind World Health
Organisation guidelines —needlessly driving new HIV infections and deaths
despite global leaders’ claims to be dedicated to ending the global AIDS
crisis. Activists today challenged all governments to change their policy
and practice by June/July 2016 when the UN High Level Meeting on HIV and
the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa will occur,
and pledged to “name and shame” those that do not implement the new
recommendations by then.

A report released today by a coalition of activists, clinical providers,
and people living with HIV calls for governments and donors to bridge the
gap between HIV treatment science and practice in order to end the deadly
double standards in the HIV response today.

Since 2011, mounting evidence has shown that waiting to start
anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment undermines the health of people living with
HIV and ability to prevent new HIV infections—leading some countries to
change policy and provide access to immediate treatment for all.  Results
from the landmark START trial published earlier this year showed
conclusively that immediate ARV treatment reduces risk of tuberculosis,
cancers and other harms, while earlier findings from the HPTN052 trial
showed ARV treatment to be among the most effective methods of preventing
transmission. Yet most countries - in particular countries with the highest
burden of disease - continue to require people diagnosed with HIV to wait
for treatment until their immune system becomes significantly weaker, as
measured by their CD4 cell count.

The report released today shows that:

·       As a matter of policy, approximately 9% of people with HIV live in
countries where immediate treatment for all is being implemented.

·       Of the 13 countries that extend HIV treatment for all, two-thirds
are classified as High Income, and one-third is Upper Middle Income.

·       15.8 million of the estimated 37 million people living with HIV
worldwide had access to treatment by 2015 (43%), 21.2 million are
clinically eligible for HIV treatment and need urgent access.

FULL REPORT RELEASED TODAY AT: http://bit.do/HIVTreatmentOnDemand

The United States and the Netherlands changed their national guidelines to
recommend offering immediate HIV treatment irrespective of CD4 cell count
in 2012. They were joined by other of the richest countries in the world
including France and Australia, along with several upper and middle-income
countries including Brazil and Thailand. A full list of countries’
policies, based on data compiled by the International Association of
Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) at hivpolicywatch.org, is shown in today’s
report. On September 30 2015 the World Health Organization (WHO) followed
suit, recommending that all people living with HIV have access to ART as
soon as they are diagnosed, bringing global guidance into alignment with
the “90-90-90” HIV treatment goals set by world leaders - that by 2020, 90%
of people with HIV know their status 90% of those people have access to HIV
treatment, and 90% of those people on treatment have viral load suppression
to ‘undetectable’ levels. However, past experience shows that the national
adoption of new WHO guidelines for HIV treatment takes an average of 2
years, but may take up to 5 years in low-income, high-burden countries.
Activists argue that further delays in treatment scale-up will result in
millions of deaths and new HIV infections, undermining efforts to end AIDS
by 2030.

Activists are demanding the following actions from world leaders by
June/July 2016:

Every country should adopt new policy to allow all people living with HIV
to access treatment on demand, and to support a doubling of the pace of
treatment enrollment, in order to reach 30 million people on treatment by

-       Donor governments should increase funding for the AIDS response
immediately. Without significant increases an end to AIDS will be
impossible in our lifetimes.

-       Implementing governments should adopt community-based models of
care to increase access to ART for all people, particularly for key
affected populations.

-       Countries should use flexibilities in intellectual property rules
to ensure that generic versions of new HIV drugs are available and
affordable to patients in every country. The world is again moving to a
situation where the latest generation of AIDS drugs are only available to
people in rich countries and wealthy some wealthy people in poor countries.

-       Countries must address the human rights barriers to access to care,
including criminalization, stigma, and discrimination. This must include
funding for civil society organisations advocating for the rights and
interests of people living with or affected by HIV to ensure they have the
right to health, including access to immediate treatment.

*Quotes *

“The indefensible reality is that most people diagnosed with HIV are turned
away from treatment and told to come back when they’re sicker. But in many
rich countries, people living with HIV can access treatment no matter their
stage of disease. This deadly double standard must end.”

- Asia Russell, Executive Director of Health GAP (Global Access Project)

“We are long overdue for a reality check in the global AIDS response. No
matter how much people talk about an ‘end to AIDS’, as long as the
political will is not there to fix healthcare systems and to increase
investment then an ‘end to AIDS’ will remain a pipedream and the people on
the ground will continue to suffer.”

- Anele Yawa, General Secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign, South

"As a person living with HIV I abhor the existing inequity that mean a
patient in the richest countries can get all the benefits of immediate
treatment, while a person with HIV in a country suffering the greatest
burden is denied that right”

– Kenly Sikwese, Coordinator, African Community Advisory Board (AFROCAB)

Though the science has been clear for years, only two countries in Asia
have moved to provide the opportunity of immediate HIV treatment for all.
There is no justification for further delay—governments must commit to HIV
treatment on demand and ensure this policy is sustainable by using their
policy prerogative to ensure availability of affordable generic versions of
new medicines to treat HIV.

–Shiba Phurailatpam, Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS

“Delay in implementing test-and-treat translates into millions of avoidable
deaths and new HIV infections. And, while the numbers are breathtaking,
each death represents an unnecessary tragedy that has devastating effects
at individual, family, and community level. We have a moral obligation to
ensure that everyone has access to the highest standard of HIV care no
matter where they happen to be born or live.  We cannot wait years for this
to happen. IAPAC stands ready to work with like-minded institutions, and
through our global membership, to advance a common strategy for attaining
the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets by guaranteeing universal access to HIV testing
and immediate treatment with antiretroviral therapy.”

- José M. Zuniga, PhD, MPH, President/CEO, International Association of
Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC)

“Now more than ever, we need unprecedented political will and financial
investments in the global AIDS response.  If we wait to make these
investments, we will miss key opportunities in the path to ending AIDS -
including the fulfillment of the new sustainable development goal. Most
importantly, adopting and implementing treatment on demand for all is
necessary to avert preventable deaths.”

- Rosemary Mburu, World AIDS Campaign

“The Indian government must follow the science not keep their heads in the
sand and continue outdated rationing treatment to only those below 350 CD4.
Treatment on demand is a human right and so is access to both generic AIDS
drugs and routine viral load tests so people living with HIV can actually
know their virus is undetectable to confirm their treatment is working or
helps in early detection if its not working”

– Loon Gangte, Delhi Network of Positive People and International Treatment
Preparedness Coalition, South Asia

“Implementing treatment on demand for everyone living with HIV is one of
the key building blocks of an effective HIV response that will end AIDS as
a public health threat. It makes economic sense, programmatic sense and
most importantly of all – realizes the right of everyone living with HIV to
life-saving treatment.”

- Mike Podmore, Director of STOPAIDS

“Currently most people diagnosed with HIV, whilst still having a high CD4
count are told to wait until it reduces to below 500. CD4 count tests are a
barrier to accessing early HIV treatment. Many of those who are told to
wait come back when their condition has deteriorated to extremely low
levels and some eventually die. Recent studies in Malawi show that up to
35-45% of clients who test positive never initiate on ART because they are
lost to follow up”

- Safari Mbewe, Executive director of the Malawi Network of People Living
with HIV (MANET+)

"There is no time for excuses--double standards in access to quality
treatment for all must end. In particular, intellectual property barriers
obstructing access to affordable generic versions of newer, improved
medicines such as dolutegravir must be dismantled."

- Christine Stegling, Director of International Treatment Preparedness

"If rich countries do not increase their financing, the virus will regain
ground. The rate of new infections will continue to increase and the global
economy will pay more money in the global response to the epidemic in the
long run. Taking action is not an option, it is a necessity for all."

- Dr. Himmich Hakima, President of Association de Lutte Contre le Sida
(Morocco) and Coalition PLUS

*"*Ensuring rapid uptake of immediate access to ARVs is critical to bending
the curve of the AIDS epidemic - but funders like the Global Fund and the
governments who support it need to know that we will not reach this goal
without ambitious scale-up. As we head into a replenishment year for the
Global Fund, its donors must listen to the evidence that tells us these new
guidelines and early access to ARV's can significantly alter the epidemic;
we need significant, increased investments and a commitment from all
international funders to support countries scale-up to make sure people
aren't waiting until they are sick to get treatment."

- Peter van Rooijen, Executive Director of International Civil Society
Support (Host for the Global Fund Advocates Network)


*Amirah Sequeira*, Health GAP, +1 703 439 9369, amirah at healthgap.org

*Asia Russell*, Health GAP, +263 737472681, +1 267 4752645,
asia at healthgap.org (Harare, Zimbabwe)

*Marcus Low,* Treatment Action Campaign, +27 (0)82 962 8309,
marcus.low at tac.org.za     (Capetown, South Africa)

Kenly Sikweze, AFROCAB, ksikwese at gmail.com (Harare, Zimbabwe)

*Camille Sarret,* Coalition PLUS, +33 7 81 73 34 77,
csarret at coalitionplus.org (Paris, France)

*Mike Podmore,* STOPAIDS, + 44 (0)7734087950, mike at stopaids.org.uk (London,

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