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WHO, UNAIDS plan to end AIDS with new testing guidelines

By Chukwuma Muanya
20 July 2015   |   11:46 pm
Determined to end Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) by 2030 and make more people living with the virus know their status, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Joint United Nation Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) have released new consolidated guidelines on HIV testing services even as global partners in the Diagnostics Access…

UNAIDSDetermined to end Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) by 2030 and make more people living with the virus know their status, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Joint United Nation Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) have released new consolidated guidelines on HIV testing services even as global partners in the Diagnostics Access Initiative (DAI) have joined with Roche Diagnostics to announce a 35 per cent reduction in the price for early infant diagnostic technologies.

Following up on United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s announcement on July 14, 2015, that the world had reached the target of providing antiretroviral therapy to 15 million people living with HIV, UNAIDS yesterday released a new report that describes the factors that helped the world achieve the ‘15 by 15’ target.

Launched at the 8th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Vancouver, Canada, 15 by 15: A global target achieved describes how diverse stakeholders and constituencies united in a common global undertaking to save lives.

Lessons learned in the successful global push to provide antiretroviral therapy to 15 million people by 2015 provide a roadmap for ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat. As a central component of the effort to end the epidemic, the world has embraced a new target for antiretroviral therapy. By 2020: (a) 90 per cent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, (b) 90 per cent of all people with an HIV diagnosis will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and (c) 90 per cent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will achieve viral suppression.

The WHO, in a statement yesterday, said the Consolidated guidelines on HIV testing services bring together existing guidance relevant to the provision of HIV testing services (HTS) and addresses issues and elements for effective delivery of HTS that are common in a variety of settings, contexts and diverse populations.

Moreover, this guidance will assist national programme managers and service providers, including those from community-based programmes, in planning for and implementing HTS.

Also, UNAIDS, yesterday, in a statement, said new access price for HIV early infant diagnosis is US$ 9.40 per test, including proprietary reagents and consumables associated with diagnosing HIV in very young children.

Partners involved in the negotiation of this reduced access price include UNAIDS, the Clinton Health Access Initiative Inc., the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and UNITAID.

UNITAID is a global health initiative in great part financed by a solidarity levy on airline tickets. Established in 2006 by the governments of Brazil, Chile, France, Norway and the United Kingdom, it provides sustainable funding in order to tackle inefficiencies in markets for medicines, diagnostics and prevention for HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis in developing countries.

With peak mortality among children living with HIV occurring at six to eight weeks, the WHO recommends that all children exposed to HIV receive early infant diagnostic screening within the first two months of life.

However, only around half of children exposed to HIV receive early infant diagnostic screening, in part because costs have limited the number of testing platforms currently used in low- and middle-income countries.