UN welcomes pricing deal for lifesaving HIV medicine

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An AIDS orphan lies in a bed made from a hanging mosquito net and drinks a bottle of milk. Photo: Masaru Goto/World Bank

A new agreement will make a lifesaving medicine to treat HIV more widely available in more than 90 low- and middle-income countries

The pricing deal for the generic, single-pill drug, known as dolutegravir (DTG), was announced at the United Nations on Thursday.

Dianne Penn reports.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been recommending DTG as an alternative first-line treatment for HIV since 2016.

In the past, only richer countries could afford it.

The deal will make the medication available to public health systems for around US$75 per person.

Michel Sidibé heads UNAIDS, the UN agency leading the fight to stamp out HIV and AIDS by 2030.

"What we are taking about today with this life-changing announcement is about equality of medicine.  But it's about equity; it's about dignity; it's about access to medicine as a human right. It is about equity, and we cannot afford to say that in one part of the world we will have excellent medicine which will certainly control the epidemic but at the same time reduce resistance and make sure that we have proper suppression of viral load, and in another part of the world we will have medicine that are good but which probably will not lead us to our objective of ending AIDS."

Last year, just over half of all those living with HIV—roughly 19.5 million people—had access to the lifesaving medicines, according to UNAIDS.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.


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