Untangling the Web of Antiretroviral Price Reductions – 15th Edition, 2012

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Abstract

In June 2011, governments committed to a target of reaching 15 million people with antiretroviral treatment(ART) by 2015 at the UN High-levelMeeting on HIV/AIDS.2 If this target is met, UNAIDS estimates that up to twelve million infections and more than seven million deaths can be averted by 2020, and that the number of new infections could be reduced by more than half by 2015.3

Now is a critical time to ensure widest possible access to ART: a landmark scientific breakthrough in2011 showed that treatment with antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) not only saves lives, but can also stopHIV from being transmitted by up to96%.4 In response to this evidence, in2012 the World Health Organization(WHO) issued guidance supporting immediate treatment – regardless of a person’s immune system’s status orCD4 count – for HIV-positive people who have HIV-negative partners, in order to help prevent transmission of the virus.5 At the same time, guidance was also issued suggesting the possibility of offering full antiretroviral therapy for life to all pregnant women living withHIV for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the virus (PMTCT).This protocol – ‘option B+’ – is easier to manage than starting and stopping PMTCT with each pregnancy, and better for mothers and their babies.