HIV/AIDS

"WHO HIV strategy: Implementing Treatment 2.0"

Side event at the Sixty-fourth World Health Assembly

Date: 19 May 2011
Place: Geneva, Switzerland
Location: Palais des Nations, Salle XXIII

The WHO HIV/AIDS Department convened the side event with delegates from implementing countries, donors and affected communities and with an audience of around 200 participants at the Sixty-fourth World Health Assembly.

Dr Hiroki Nakatani

Dr Hiroki Nakatani, WHO's Assistant Director-General for HIV, TB, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, co-chaired the meeting with Mr Steven Shongwe, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Swaziland. The co-chairs underlined the necessity of the Treatment 2.0 initiative in order to realize the goal to provide HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment services to all who need them.

Dr Gottfried Hirnschall

Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, WHO's HIV Director, outlined the five priority work streams of the Treatment 2.0 initiative. "With more than 6 million on antiretroviral therapy and at least 10 million requiring it, we need a new global platform to make sure that universal access to treatment is achieved and sustained," he said.

WHO and UNAIDS are coordinating Treatment 2.0 - a ten-year initiative to radically simplify and expand quality treatment in the short-, medium- and long-term. The initiative is designed to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of HIV treatment programmes through focus on five priorities:

  • optimising drug regimens
  • advancing point-of-care and other simplified platforms for diagnosis and monitoring
  • reducing costs
  • adapting delivery systems, and
  • mobilising communities.

Dr Frank Chimbwandira

Dr Frank M Chimbwandira, Director of HIV and AIDS of the Malawian Ministry of Health shared his country's successes and lessons of scaling up HIV services over the past decade. He spoke of the huge progress his country has achieved in scaling up HIV treatment. However, with 90% of HIV medicines being purchased with donor money, he expressed concern for the predictability of donor funding for HIV.

He also highlighted persisting challenges in health systems, showing examples of a major clinic where bicycles are used as ambulances, and manual records are still being used to register and monitor hundreds of patients.

Dr Bui Duc Duong

Dr Bui Duc Duong, Associate Professor and Deputy Director General of the Viet Nam Authority of HIV/AIDS Control, spoke of Viet Nam's experience of already implementing the five priority areas of Treatment 2.0 to scale up treatment for people who inject drugs. Highlighting the country's success in "learning by doing" basing on experiences of the "3 by 5" initiative, Dr Duong shared Viet Nam's commitment to implement the new recommendations for early HIV treatment and to mobilize people living with HIV in improving treatment literacy and adherence.

Dr Charles Holmes

Dr Charles Holmes of the Office of the US Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC)/ President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), expressed PEPFAR's full support of the Treatment 2.0 initiative. He shared the agency's initiatives to introduce innovative point-of-care CD4 testing tools in countries, its support to countries in implementing early HIV treatment recommendations released by WHO in 2010, and provided examples of ongoing work across the five priority areas of Treatment 2.0.

Ms Morolake Odetoyinbo

Ms Morolake (Rolake) Odetoyinbo, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Positive Action for Treatment Access (PATA), spoke on behalf of civil society demanding further support from governments and WHO to implement Treatment 2.0 and provide access to treatment as urgently as possible to millions who need it to stay alive.

She also pleaded for the need for WHO to keep HIV on the top of the global health agenda. "If HIV is no longer a priority for WHO, then we are dead," she said, explaining that communities affected by HIV "cannot afford to allow WHO to give such a signal". She said that WHO Member States and partners, including implementing countries themselves, must provide the necessary financial and political support needed to achieve the goal of achieving and sustaining universal access.

Treatment 2.0 will be a key initiative over the next decade, and a critical part of WHO's work to drive innovation, effectiveness and efficiency in HIV treatment to reach universal and sustainable coverage.

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Presentations made at the side event