HIV Treatment

Antiretroviral treatment suppresses the HIV virus and thanks to its availability the disease is no longer a death sentence – for those that have access. The unprecedented growth in global funding for antiretrovirals has led to the establishment of a competitive generic market with a total value of an estimated US$ 835 million [PDF, 560 KB].

UNITAID has played a critical role in building this market by focusing on paediatric medicines, second-line medicines and integrated prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. By intervening in these "niche markets", UNITAID has addressed gaps in global public health funding for HIV/AIDS treatment.

Yet considerable work remains. Following a new set of WHO guidelines in 2010 that recommended starting treatment at an earlier stage of the disease, it is now estimated that 18.3 million people living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries will be in need of treatment by the year 2015.

Antiretrovirals also decrease the risk that HIV can be transmitted, known as "treatment as prevention". In April 2012, WHO issued new guidelines for couples where only one partner is HIV positive, recommending antiretroviral therapy for the affected partner to reduce likelihood of transmission to the HIV negative partner.

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