Treatment Action Group (TAG) is seeking organizational sign-ons to the letter, below, which will be sent to the Board and Chair of UNITAID.
Recently, UNITAID issued a call for letters of intent (LOI) on market-based interventions to increase access to key treatment, diagnostic, and preventive commodities for HIV, TB and malaria. For the first time, the call for LOIs included the possibility of addressing hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection with HIV.
Our letter encourages UNTAID to prioritize and support interventions that address HCV coinfection, given the scope of the HCV pandemic and current lack of a global response.
Kindly send the organizational (not individual) sign-ons to email@example.com by Friday, October 4, 5:00 p.m. EST.
Karyn Kaplan, Director, International Hepatitis/HIV Policy & Advocacy
Treatment Action Group (TAG)
SIGN ON LETTER
We commend UNITAID for addressing viral hepatitis in its 2013-2016 Strategic Objectives. We are writing to underscore the need for a swift response to hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection from UNITAID; delays will cost lives and impede scale-up when more effective and tolerable therapies are available.
HCV is a prevalent—and deadly—coinfection among people living with HIV/AIDS, especially people who inject drugs (PWID). An estimated 5 million people are HCV coinfected (although surveillance data in many low-and middle-income countries [LMICs] are limited to non-existent). HIV increases the risk for, and rate of progression to liver cirrhosis., End-stage liver disease secondary to HCV coinfection is a leading cause of death among HIV-positive people who have access to antiretroviral therapy., In fact, HCV coinfection increases the risk of all-cause, AIDS-related and liver-related mortality.
Hepatitis C is curable (an outcome known as sustained virological response, or SVR), regardless of HIV status. In HIV/HCV coinfected people-—even those with cirrhosis—SVR is associated with improved ART tolerability and decreased liver- related and AIDS-related illness and death.,,,
From the HIV experience, we have learned that it is possible to scale up delivery of life-saving treatment in LMICs. UNITAID has been instrumental in the continued success of HIV treatment scale up in LMICs.
Given the upcoming HCV treatment revolution and the inevitable HCV-related death toll among untreated coinfected people in the coming years, we urge UNITAID to promptly provide full support for the 2 exploratory analyses identified in the 2013-2016 Strategic Objectives:
- -Make affordable treatment regimens available for HIV/HCV co-infections
- -Consolidate demand and negotiate prices for key HCV diagnostics
We strongly believe that immediately addressing HCV coinfection will bolster UNITAID’s main priority. Interventions to facilitate access to HCV diagnostics and treatment must commence if we are to optimize HIV treatment outcomes for millions of people. We urge UNITAID to support high-quality proposals that address HIV/HCV coinfection without delay.
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