MANILA – More than 15 million people in the world today are accessing life-saving anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines, compared with fewer than 700 000 people in 2000, according to the UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programmes on HIV/AIDS).
In a statement from New York, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé said that generic competition in the pharmaceutical industry, fostered by the use of intellectual property flexibilities, has helped make prices for life-saving medicines much more affordable over the past 15 years and allowed the massive scale-up of HIV treatment programs.
Sidibe said it is important that world leaders commit to new public health targets as part of the Sustainable Development Goals in halting and reversing AIDS epidemics.
“Everyone has the right to health, no matter where they are born or who they are,” he added.
He said that governments and the private sector have a responsibility to ensure that medicines remain accessible to everybody in line with the goal of making the treatment available both to the rich and the poor.
He added that dramatic increases in the prices of some medicines can raise concerns on availability to patients as access to treatment which should be the concern for promoting public health.
“As world leaders commit to new public health targets as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, governments and the private sector have a responsibility to ensure that medicines remain accessible to everybody,” he said.
Sidibe said that commitment towards access to affordable and effective medicines through investment to it can fast- track the halting and reversing of the AIDS epidemic.
He said that UNAIDS has set a new 90-90-90 treatment target for 2020 with the aim of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
Countries around the world are adopting the 90-90-90 treatment target, whereby 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV status are accessing treatment and 90% of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads.