By Ludo Bok, Team leader, Development effectiveness, HIV, Health & Development Group, UNDP
The media has gone crazy over the disclosure of the HIV status of one of America's most controversial television stars, Charlie Sheen. Much of the reporting has been sensationalist, focusing on his multiple marriages and struggles with substance abuse. The majority of it has been dominated by prejudice and moral finger-wagging. Social media went into overdrive, as #Charliesheen trended around the world.
Responses have been mixed, with reactions ranging from admiration for his very public coming out to speculation about how he contracted the virus and the vilification of sex workers. It also sparked discussions around confidentiality, blackmail and the legal implications of not disclosing his HIV status to his ex-partners.
Savings provide funds for an additional 250,000 people on HIV treatment
Geneva – UNDP has achieved significant reductions in the price of HIV medicines that it procures, bringing down the cost of the most common treatment to an unprecedented US$100 per patient per year in Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Mali, South Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Through these price reductions UNDP is saving US$ 25 million that are being used to put an additional 250,000 people on life-saving HIV treatment.
UNDP currently supports the implementation of HIV grants financed by the Global Fund in 19 countries. Through these programmes, 2.2 million people living with HIV currently receive life-saving antiretroviral therapy.
AIDS continues to be a major global health and development challenge. Since its emergence as one of the most brutal and debilitating diseases in history, it has already claimed the lives of more than 34 million people.
Today, 36.9 million people are living with HIV, with 1.2 million deaths from AIDS-related illnesses and two million new HIV infections occurring in 2014 alone. The devastation wrought by AIDS-related illnesses is very real, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where the majority of new HIV infections occur.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today the establishment of a high-level panel on health technology innovation and access.
Comprising 16 eminent, well-respected individuals with a deep knowledge and understanding of the broad range of trade, public health, human rights and legal issues associated with access to treatment, the panel's co-chairs are Ruth Dreifuss, former President of Switzerland, and Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana.
In order to ensure healthy lives and promote the well-being of people of all ages, as set out in Sustainable Development Goal 3, new modalities are urgently needed to ensure that everyone can access quality treatment at affordable costs while also incentivizing innovation and the development of new technologies such as vaccines, medicines and diagnostics.
New York - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Fund have signed a US$10.5 million grant to address human rights barriers faced by vulnerable communities in Africa, and facilitate access to lifesaving health care. The grant is the first of its kind and will cover 10 countries including Botswana, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, the Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Disenfranchised populations such as men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs and transgender people, systematically face human rights abuses and obstacles to receiving vital health care, such as HIV and tuberculosis (TB) prevention, treatment and care.