HIV :: UNITAID celebrates major achievements in first year of existence

In the year since it was established, the international drug purchase facility UNITAID has managed to reduce the price of HIV treatments for children by almost 40%, and those for second-line antiretroviral (ARV) drugs by between 25% and 50%.

In collaboration with the Clinton Foundation, UNITAID has also delivered more than 33 000 paediatric treatments against HIV/AIDS and is on course to meet the needs of 100 000 children by the end of 2007.

Moreover, UNITAID has committed a total of US$ 45 million for second-line antiretroviral drugs to fund the treatment of 65 000 patients by 2008. Four countries (Botswana, Cameroon, Uganda and Zambia) have already received a first supply of second-line ARV drugs through UNITAID and a further 13 countries are currently awaiting delivery. UNITAID was launched in September 2006 during the United Nations General Assembly.

In partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, UNITAID has purchased and distributed 1.3 million Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACT) in Burundi and Liberia. In addition, UNITAID is supporting ACT procurement and delivery to eight countries through collaboration with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and UNICEF. Delivery of the ACTs will begin in October 2007.

UNITAID is also contributing to the fight against tuberculosis together with the Global Drug Facility and the Stop TB Partnership. By the end of the year, UNITAID will have provided TB treatments to 150 000 children in 19 countries and will be supporting the provision of drugs for Multidrug – resistant TB in 17 low-income countries.

Background on UNITAID

The mandate of UNITAID is to contribute to the scaling up of access to treatments for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in developing countries by leveraging quality drugs and diagnostics price reductions and accelerating the pace at which these are made available. For each programme, UNITAID sets up an ad hoc partnership with existing organizations: WHO, UNICEF, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Clinton Foundation (CHAI), Global Drug Facility/Green Light Committee and the Stop TB Partnership.

UNITAID offers beneficiary countries long-term support through sustainable and predictable funding, mobilized by innovative financing mechanisms, such as a solidarity contribution on air tickets, together with multi-year predictable budgetary contributions.

Based in Geneva, its Trust Fund and lean Secretariat are hosted by WHO. At present, 27 countries of which 19 are in Africa are members and hence contribute to UNITAID. At least 85% of UNITAID funds are spent in low income countries (LICs). The budget of UNITAID for 2007 is over US$ 300 million and 90% has already been committed to programmes in more than 80 countries.

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