SWITZERLAND —Three major donors have announced funding increases to support UNAIDS’ evidence-driven human rights-based work to end AIDS.

During a deep dive dialogue at UNAIDS global center in Geneva, the United States, the Netherlands, and Germany all announced additional resources for UNAIDS, in addition to resources already pledged.

The United States, UNAIDS’ largest donor, announced an increase of US$5.2 million on top of the US$50 million already pledged earlier this year.

Germany announced an additional € 0.5 million (US$0.5 million), and the Netherlands pledged an additional € 3 million (US$3.1 million) and announced an increase in funding of 15% and a multi-year agreement with UNAIDS to secure funding for 2023-2025.

Kitty van der Heijden, Vice Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands said: “Having a fully funded UNAIDS matters because AIDS is still an epidemic for which there is no vaccine and no cure, but it is an epidemic we can treat.

UNAIDS needs to be enabled to deliver what it does well, and that is helping to prevent and treat HIV—we encourage more donors to come forward,” she added.

In July UNAIDS released a report showing that the response was in danger, with the COVID crisis and the war in Ukraine putting the AIDS response under even greater strain.

In 2021, one person died every minute of an AIDS-related illness and every two minutes a young woman became newly infected with HIV.

A total of 650 000 people died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2021 and there were 1.5 million new HIV infections—1 million above the 2020 target of 500 000. New HIV infections increased in 38 countries.

AIDS remains a deadly pandemic and we cannot afford to pause now,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS.

Investment now is essential to achieving the 2030 target of ending AIDS. A failure to invest will prolong the epidemic indefinitely with soaring costs if intentional actions are not taken now.

Earlier on, UNAIDS welcomed European Commission’s approval of an HIV treatment option designed for twice-yearly dosing and urged an expansion of the number of countries included.

The European Commission became the first regulatory agency to approve Gilead Sciences’ long-acting HIV capsid inhibitor lenacapavir, to be marketed as Sunlenca.

The twice-yearly antiretroviral is indicated for treatment-experienced people with multidrug-resistant HIV who cannot otherwise construct a fully suppressive regimen.

Lenacapavir has also shown promise for first-line treatment and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), but European Commission’s approval only covers previously treated people.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may be next to approve lenacapavir after an unexpected delay.

The FDA put a clinical hold on lenacapavir and declined to approve it due to concerns about the type of glass vial used for the injectable formulation.

But in May, the FDA lifted the hold and Gilead resubmitted a new drug application after the company switched to a different type of glass; an approval decision is expected by the end of the year.

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