Significant advances in the screening and treatment of HIV over the past decades have transformed HIV infection into a manageable chronic condition. Despite this, more than 600,000 people die each year from AIDS-related causes, the majority of which occur in low- and middle-income countries.
Children are disproportionately affected: they represent only 5% of all people living with HIV, yet account for 15% of all deaths.
Many AIDS-related deaths occur when a person goes too long without antiviral treatment for HIV infection and becomes severely immunocompromised. This is known as advanced HIV disease, and those affected are at high risk of opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, cryptococcal meningitis, and other fungal infections.
With highly effective rapid tests and treatments for HIV, and tools to prevent and treat common co-infections associated with more severe stages of disease available, the current rates of AIDS-related deaths are unacceptable.
United is accepting proposals for projects that will further simplify the management of advanced HIV disease, including for children. This builds on previous investments that have significantly improved access to a package of care that includes some of the most impactful medicines and diagnostics recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for advanced HIV disease.
Unitaid aims to increase equitable access to optimal products for managing advanced HIV disease in adults and children by supporting proposals aimed at:
- Developing optimal strategies for rapid diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of infections associated with HIV in children
- Facilitating the adoption and implementation of the WHO STOP AIDS toolkit for children to expand access to care for advanced HIV disease and enable further scale-up for this very vulnerable population
- Demonstrating decentralized delivery models of care to prevent loss to follow up
- Further simplifying and increasing uptake of optimized advanced HIV disease packages that integrate newer tools to address the main drivers of death, including cryptococcal meningitis and other fungal infections
Engagement with affected communities is a critical determinant for project success and all proposals must clearly indicate how community engagement and collaboration will guide project design, development, and implementation.