May 2014

Calling for Access to Essential Medicines for Children Living with HIV

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Pediatric HIV and the critical gaps in treatments for children living with HIV are taking center stage at the 67th annual World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland.

On Sunday, May 18 UNITAID, the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), announced a new partnership to develop improved treatments for the 3.3 million children who are currently living with HIV and AIDS.

Representatives from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), including EGPAF President and CEO Charles Lyons, joined health ministers from more than 15 countries to launch this innovative program. Known as the Paediatric HIV Treatment Initiative (PHTI), this partnership will focus on three key areas:  research and development, intellectual property sharing, and market-shaping to ensure the availability of treatment regiments for children living with HIV/AIDS.

On Friday, May 23 EGPAF, together with DNDi, MPP, and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, emphasized the need for better HIV drugs for children in remarks made in front of international delegates. The intervention presented to the WHA welcomed a draft resolution on access to essential medicines, particularly as this resolution relates to children. The resolution includes key components essential to ending AIDS in children, such as:

• Health worker training and education

• The need to identify key barriers to accessing essential medicines and strategies to address them

• The need to develop appropriate formulations for children

EGPAF’s intervention stressed that currently, only 34 percent of all children eligible for HIV treatment have access to it. Without this lifesaving medication, half of children will die before age 2, and 80 percent before age 5.

You can read the full intervention here and stay tuned to the blog for more updates from WHA!