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AHF Welcomes New WHO HIV/AIDS Treatment Guidelines, Calls for Sustained Funding

2013年07月01日 AM02:40
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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today applauded the news that the World Health Organization (WHO) is raising its treatment initiation guidelines for HIV-positive individuals from a CD4 count of less than 350 to less than 500, allowing more HIV-infected people to start treatment earlier. WHO officials announced the change in conjunction with the International AIDS Society’s 7th Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, which is taking place in Kuala Lumpur. According to WHO officials, earlier treatment initiation will make 26 million people eligible to receive lifesaving antiretroviral medicine, an increase of 76% from the current 14.8 million.

WHAT:   AHF PRESS CONFERENCE
AHF Lauds WHO for New Guidelines Starting AIDS Treatment Earlier
International AIDS Society Meeting
(NOTE: immediately following the WHO press conference on the topic)
 
WHEN:

July 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm (1430)

 
WHERE: IAS Meeting Kuala Lumpur
Media Centre Speakers’ Corner
7th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

WHO:

  • Dr. Jorge Saavedra, Global Ambassador for AIDS Healthcare Foundation
  • Dr. Penninah Iutung, Africa Bureau Chief, AIDS Healthcare Foundation
  • Dr. Chhim Sarath, Asia Bureau Chief, AIDS Healthcare Foundation
  • Dr. Damir Bikmukhametov, Medical Director, European Bureau, AHF
  • Terri Ford, Chief of Global Advocacy, AIDS Healthcare Foundation

”We applaud WHO for bringing together in the new guidelines all the scientific evidence that’s come out in recent years on how to put the HIV epidemic on a downward path. All the evidence clearly points in the same direction – earlier treatment initiation saves lives and prevents new infections,” said Dr. Jorge Saavedra, Global Ambassador for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “It is my hope that we can now put to rest the debate over whether treatment as prevention works, and focus on what matters most – getting HIV positive people into care and treatment and getting world leaders to commit the necessary resource to achieve Universal Access to treatment. We will continue to stumble short of the global AIDS control so long as Universal Access is not truly universal and only a fraction of all those who need treatment, actually have it.”

“With the new, earlier treatment initiation guidelines many more people across Africa will be able to regain their strength and lives, instead of languishing in illness until they are finally eligible to start treatment. Mothers will now be able to get up in the morning, see their healthy children off to school, go to work, take care of their families and stay alive,” said Penninah Iutung, M.D. AHF’s Africa Bureau Chief. “They will be there the next day and the day after, something that has not been possible only a few years ago. We thank WHO for taking steps to ensure that mothers, infants, children and adolescents have earlier access to treatment and treatment – they are often the most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and the most overlooked.”

“These newly announced WHO guidelines recommend treatment initiation for people co-infected with HIV and active TB regardless of the CD4 cell count. This will be a welcomed changed especially for Eastern Europe, where TB is the leading cause of death among HIV positive people, and alarmingly multi-drug resistant TB is on the rise,” said Dr. Damir Bikmukhametov, Medical Director, European Bureau for AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Kazan, Russia. “There’s strong evidence that early treatment initiation vastly improves clinical outcomes in people co-infected with HIV/TB, reducing morbidity and mortality. Our hope is that policy makers will heed WHO’s evidence-based recommendations and adopt them – tens of thousands of lives will be saved if this is done.”

“Without testing and linkage to care we cannot hope to achieve success in the fight against AIDS, even if there is treatment available. We commend WHO for including a strong emphasis on community-based testing and linkage to care, particularly among high-risk groups in the updated treatment initiation guidelines,” said Dr. Chhim Sarath, Asia Bureau Chief, AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Hundreds of thousands of people still go undiagnosed, not knowing their HIV status and putting their loved ones at risk. If we strengthen the emphasis on prevention and testing, our efforts will go a long way in helping reduce the rate of new infections. Eventually, if more people are put on treatment than become infected, we will be able to turn the tide on AIDS.”

“As before, AHF has led the way in advocating for changes to the WHO treatment initiation guidelines – and once again we have taken another important step forward toward curbing AIDS by providing treatment to those who need it, sooner. We salute WHO’s historic move to bring the guidelines in line with the overwhelming evidence that earlier treatment initiation saves lives, despite resistance from detractors who are reluctant to face the reality that new political and financial commitments will have to be made in order to provide treatment to more people,” said Terri Ford, Chief of Global Policy, AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “The ball is now in the court of the decision makers and world leaders, they must translate these guidelines into action and recommit themselves to the global fight on AIDS.”

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 200,000 individuals in 28 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @AIDSHealthcare

CONTACT

KUALA LUMPUR
Terri Ford
Chief of Global
Advocacy
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
+1-323-399-1001
terrif@aidshealth.org
or
KUALA
LUMPUR

Dr. Penninah Iutung Amor
Bureau Chief,
Africa
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
+1-226-712-754-333 [cell]
+1-323-203-5358
[US cell]
penninah.iutung@aidshealth.org
or
UNITED
STATES

Ged Kenslea
Senior Director,
Communications
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Los Angeles, CA
+1-323-308-1833
[work]
+1-323-791-5526 [cell]
gedk@aidshealth.org

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