A New Push for Timely Diagnosis and Treatment of Children with HIV
Meghan Quinn, EGPAF
Tunga Namjilsuren, WHO
+41 79 203 3176
EGPAF and WHO Statement on the High-Level Dialogue to Assess Progress on and Intensify Commitment to Scaling Up Diagnosis and Treatment of Paediatric HIV
7 December 2018—Vatican City—The World Health Organization (WHO) and Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), together with PEPFAR, UNAIDS, the World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, and global partner organizations, issued a strong call today to accelerate children’s access to effective HIV diagnostics and medicines and to end paediatric AIDS.
The organizations convened a High-Level Dialogue on pediatric HIV, hosted by His Eminence Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development of the Vatican City on 6 – 7 December 2018.
Despite progress in the global HIV response, more than 110 000 children die each year from AIDS-related causes and over 15 000 children are newly infected with HIV every month. In 2017, only 51% of HIV-exposed infants received an early infant diagnosis test within the first two months of life. Countries continue using suboptimal HIV medicines for children which leads to high rates of treatment failure or drug resistance in children.
At the meeting, global partners recognized tangible progress made over the past year, in the context of persisting challenges in paediatric HIV. They identified key barriers that exist and agreed on actions to be jointly undertaken in order to improve timely diagnosis of HIV among children and to increase their access to optimal antiretroviral treatment (ART).
They committed to expand use of new, more effective strategies to find HIV cases among older children and to scale-up access to key tests, including innovative point-of-care early infant diagnosis (POC EID) technologies. Also, children lack access to technologies to detect treatment failure. It can take a long time to get such products approved, prices can be prohibitive, there is limited funding from major donors, and a lack of efficient strategies to place these technologies within existing laboratory networks. These challenges hinder children’s access to cutting-edge tools.
New commitments were made to streamline drug approval processes, to improve financing of accelerated pathways to develop better paediatric formulations, and to ensure wide availability and uptake of such optimal formulations among affected children.
The stakeholders also expressed support for new accelerated pathways being implemented in countries to register antiretroviral medicines for children and agreed to use the Global Accelerator for Paediatric Formulations platform for supporting research, development and introduction of new formulations and to foster collaborative efforts among donors, industry and implementing partners.
This High-Level Dialogue provided an opportunity for stakeholders to build on previous Dialogues on ending paediatric HIV and assess progress on the commitments made as part of the November 2017 Pediatric HIV Rome Action Plan (http://www.pedaids.org/page/-/Rome_Action_Plan_2017.pdf).
Organizers of the High-Level Dialogue included WHO and EGPAF, in their capacity as co-chairs of the AIDS Free Working Group of the Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free (3 Frees) framework, as well as The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), UNAIDS, co-conveners of the 3 Frees, and other partners.
Participants included leaders of major diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies, multilateral organizations, governments, regulators, faith-based organizations, and others who are directly engaged in providing services to children and adolescents living with and vulnerable to HIV.
Previous WHO story: https://www.who.int/hiv/mediacentre/news/paediatric-hiv-rome-meeting/en/