Calls for HIV medications to be made more affordable

Celebrities including Stephen Fry, Adam Lambert and Olly Alexander have joined top medical professionals and researchers to deliver a plea to one of the world’s largest manufacturers of HIV medication.

The consortium of celebrities, medical professionals, and HIV advocates are appealing to pharmaceutical company ViiV Healthcare to make the latest development in HIV prevention affordable on a global level so some of the poorest nations can also access the game changing medication.

The group highlight that new long-acting antiretroviral HIV medicines could have a transformative effect on the global AIDS response–significantly reducing new HIV infections. They say that a new category of medicines—long-acting injectable Cabotegravir (CAB-LA) will have a major impact on tackling HIV, but it is essential that the medication is used for prevention as well as treatment, and it must be delivered at an affordable price.

Until now most HIV medication, and preventative treatment options, have required a daily pill regime. Now people will be able to take a long lasting injection that will only be required several times a year.

“Despite remarkable success in the global AIDS fight, which has cut the number of HIV infections in half, progress is now dangerously slowing. There are 1.5 million new infections annually and a person still dies every minute from AIDS. HIV infection has become rare in many communities, but others around the world face rising HIV risks.” the group said in an open letter to the pharmaceutical company.

“HIV prevention drugs have disproportionately reached people in wealthy countries while millions of those most in need around the world have limited access. If CAB-LA is not widely available and affordable, it will deepen the inequalities that both fuel the AIDS pandemic, and that are exacerbated by it”

They have asked the company to consider making an announcement at the 24th International AIDS Conference which will take place in Montreal, Canada later this week.

“The 24th International AIDS Conference in Montreal, Canada in July offers an historic opportunity for you to stand with world leaders, civil society and people living with and at risk of HIV from around the world and pledge actions that will save lives and accelerate efforts to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.” the groups said.

Among those signing the letter are Nobel Laurette Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, who is credited with discovering the existence of HIV, former President of Malawi Dr. Joyce Banda, Dr Winnie Byanyima the head of UNAIDS, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, and Deborah Gold CEO of Britain’s National AIDS Trust.

Celebrities putting their name to the plea include Sir Richard Branson, Troye Sivan, actor David Oyelowo, Billy Porter, and French actor Arnaud Valois who starred in the film B.P.M.

OIP Staff


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