Eastern European and Central Asian countries unite to expand access to HIV and TB treatment

Ministries of Health from Eastern Europe and Central Asia adopted on 3 November in Minsk, Belarus, a consensus statement on HIV and tuberculosis (TB) treatment for all, calling for expanded and rapidly scaled-up access to affordable, quality-assured medicines.

Representatives of Ministries of Health of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan endorsed the statement at the conclusion of a two-day regional consultation.

Governments committed to strengthen regional cooperation in order to advance access to affordable and quality medicines and deliver more cost-effective, equitable and sustainable solutions for common challenges by intensifying efforts through regional solidarity, shared responsibility and political leadership.

The statement underlines that countries are ready to use all available tools to reduce the price of life-saving medicines, address intellectual property issues and their alignment with national legislation, support the local manufacturing of medicines and optimize medicine regimens in line with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.

More than 160 participants, including representatives of ministries of health, national experts, representatives of the pharmaceutical industry and partners from international organizations and civil society, participated in the regional consultation.

Eastern Europe and central Asia is home to the fastest growing HIV epidemic and the highest levels of multidrug-resistant TB in the world. Expanding antiretroviral therapy eligibility based on the WHO recommendations to treat people who test positive for HIV as soon as possible is expected to have significant cost implications for the HIV response in all countries of the region.

The event was hosted by the Ministry of Health of Belarus with support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNAIDS and the Stop TB Partnership.

The consensus statement is available here


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Original news piece available at UNAIDS.ORG