Statement by Rhon Reynold, Program Manager Knowledge Mangement & Community Development
The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+)
Agenda item 1.4: Report by the NGO Representative
The Global Network of PLHIV would like to express its support for the NGO report and further highlight the importance of securing 2nd– and 3rd line ARVs for our communities. Lack of adherence support, treatment illiteracy, poor access to diagnostics, stigma and discrimination, side effects, among other challenges, impact the abilities of our communities to keep HIV manageable. Every 5 years, almost one-fifth of PLHIV are in need of newer, more potent ARV regimens many of which are inaccessible due to IP-barriers. The cost related barriers to access are particularly pertinent to those living in countries with upper middle-income status. In the past few years, ARV stock-out have become common in EECA and Eastern and Southern Africa and have been repeatedly reported by our constituencies. This is unacceptable.
Adolescents living with HIV are a clear exampleof sub-populations within our communities that face the severe consequences of lack of access due to IP-barriers. Acquired HIV at birth, having their immune system developed along HIV, experienced mono-, duo and then triple therapy and were left to cope with disclosure, adherence, SRH – some are now reliant on exclusively compassionate use for 3rd-line darinavir-based treatment that the Govt isn’t able to procure due to high price. They are simply running out of options.
Last year, GNP+, alongside its partners, issueda position paper: Access Challenges for HIV Treatment among People Living with HIV and Key Populations in Middle-Income Countries, calling for affordable and high quality treatment for HIV and for co-infections such as HepC and drug resistant TB – as our communities are living longer, we need access to them to manage non-HIV related chronic disaease –such as certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. From India to South Africa, the PLHIV-led networks and organisations are demanding that government ensure that they use the existing mechanism, such as TRIPS Flexibilities: compulsory licenses, parallel importation, pre-/post grant opposition, to secure access to those drugs.
From our perspective, achieving 909090 remains a long way off and unless we ensure that PLHIV – no matter where they reside, their social/economic status, their sexuality, their practices- can access high quality, uninterrupted, potent treatment. We need a mechanism that benefits ALL PLHIV.