More than 50 nongovernmental groups, international agencies, research institutions, AIDS activists, and other organizations on Thursday launched the International HIV Treatment Access Coalition, an initiative aimed at increasing access to HIV antiretroviral medications throughout the world, The Boston Globe reports. Specific goals of the group include advocating for pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of anti-HIV medications in poor nations and assisting governments in developing and launching comprehensive HIV treatment programs.
International AIDS Society president Joep Lange said the coalition is not the beginning of yet another large HIV/AIDS organization, though it is a way to bring together those already working on HIV treatment issues. "If we want to scale up to [treat] millions, we need a focused, concerted action on a global level," he said. "Everyone is doing their little bit. We don't even know what others are doing. So we need to streamline treatment models."
Bernhard Schwartlander, director of the World Health Organization's HIV/AIDS program, said that the coalition will not distribute HIV/AIDS treatment funds, but will assist countries and regional groups in establishing programs that could then apply for grant funds from donors, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.