1 December - Keep the PromiseOn the occasion of World AIDS Day 2008, UNITAID pledges to 'Keep the promise' by continuing efforts towards universal access to testing and treatment for people living with HIV. UNITAID is intensifying action to seek new funding sources to increase its operations and explore innovative mechanisms such as the patent pool for medicines which could significantly increase access to new medicines.
Since its establishment in September 2006 until the end of 2008, UNITAID has achieved the following milestones:
Antiretrovirals and HIV medicines for children in two years this project has secured treatment for 140 000 children and aims to scale up to 180 000 more children by 2010. The joint effort between UNITAID and the William J. Clinton Foundation, HIV/AIDS initiative (CHAI) has made available 11 new child-specific medicines and negotiated a 60% reduction on their price.
Second line antiretrovirals against HIV/AIDS in partnership with CHAI, this project aims to reduce the price of key second line medicines by stimulating market competition and offering manufacturers incentives to produce better quality products at lowerprices. Since the start of the project in May 2007, UNITAID has supplied second-line antiretrovirals to an estimated 131,000 patients in 20 countries and halved the price of the treatments.
Acceleration of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) and Scale-up of Paediatric HIV Care and treatment Jointly with UNICEF and WHO this project was launched to increase testing and treatment of HIV positive women during and after pregnancy to prevent the transmission of the HIV virus to their babies. It also provides treatment for infants who become infected. To date, the project operates in eight countries and will shortly start activities in a further nine countries in Africa and Asia.
Acceleration of Nutritional Care of Pregnant and Lactating women and children linked to PMTCT it is important to reduce the effects of malnutrition in HIV patients if treatment is to be effective. This joint UNICEF-UNITAID project aims to do just that by providing a re-nutrition package for severely malnourished children in 17 countries. Special packs of highly calorific foods are produced and distributed to dispensing clinics. These ready to use therapeutic foods (RUFT) are extremely effective at strengthening children and ensure that their HIV treatment is more efficacious.
Investing in quality UNITAID supports the WHO prequalification programme with a three year commitment of US$ 40 million. The programme assesses medicines and manufacturers to ensure quality treatments are procured through the United Nations andother systems and works to build national capacity in countries where the regulation of medicines is weak or non-existent. This impacts positively on the general development of national regulation and ultimately promotes safer, more effective and better quality medicines for patients.
Currently, five HIV projects have been allocated over US$ 295 million. Three other UNITAID projects with an HIV component amount to US$ 107 million.