IDA commemorates World AIDS Day 2020
World AIDS Day, held on December 1 since 1988, is an international day dedicated to creating awareness of the HIV/AIDS burden worldwide. Thus far, of the approximately 38 million people with HIV worldwide, around 26 million are on retroviral therapy, which is triple the number in 2010 (UN Report, 2020). Furthermore, AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 56% since 2005 (UNAIDS, 2019). Despite these achievements, significant challenges remain, with increasing rates of infections in key communities.
IDA Foundation has a long history in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. Although effective anti-retroviral medication had been developed by branded manufacturers, the average annual cost of the regimen was 10.000USD. This high cost prevented ARV treatment from reaching key populations, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. IDA decided to apply our Quality Assurance process to generic ARVs being manufactured by Indian suppliers, and we approved those manufacturers that met IDA’s strict standards. This gave health care providers in low- and middle- income countries the confidence to purchase Indian generic medicines, allowing them to treat patients at a fraction of the earlier costs.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, global HIV/AIDS health programmes are at risk. Many test locations that were set up to target key populations in low- and middle- income countries have been transformed into COVID-19 testing stations, jeopardizing early diagnosis of HIV infections. While lockdowns prevent access to diagnosis and treatment. The COVID-19 pandemic underlines the importance of existing health programs aimed at for example HIV/AIDS. To prevent all the progress made to go to waste we need to assure that those suffering from HIV/AIDS get an early diagnosis and have access to ARV treatment, to ensure that no one is left behind. For more information, visit UNAIDS website on World AIDS Day 2020.