The ECUO prepared unofficial translation of the WHO HIV Policy Brief “TRANSITION TO NEW ANTIRETROVIRALS IN HIV PROGRAMMES” of 2017 into Russian. The document provides advice on a phased approach to transitioning to new WHO-recommended HIV treatment regimens.
WHO HIV antiretroviral (ARV) drug guidelines regulate the use of ARV regimens with high potency, high genetic barriers to HIV drug resistance (HIVDR), low toxicity and low cost. The adoption of better drug regimens could improve treatment adherence, viral suppression and quality of life of people living with HIV. These benefits could reduce pressures on health systems as lower rates of viral failure on new treatments could reduce the risk of HIVDR and HIV transmission.
“As the time goes on, new medicines emerge, having better clinical effect for patients and less side effects. The Ministries of Health in the countries of our region follow in their approaches the recommendations of the World Health Organization, which develops them on the basis of the latest scientific achievements and focuses on expanding the use of innovative approaches and technologies in all countries.
The new WHO guidelines published in 2017 reflect this modern approach. Transition to more efficient antiretrovirals may, in the long run, contribute to considerable savings of the national health budgets globally. Moreover, it’s not only about comparing the budget figures. The context is much wider: when one takes ART with the least adverse effects and viral suppression is achieved, the patient has higher adherence to treatment and higher quality of life, without ARV-therapy interruptions viral resistance does not develop and further spread of HIV is curbed. These are the factors for state savings due to the implementation of the most efficient and safe therapy for the patients. Introducing modern, efficient HIV treatment is the investment in the future of the entire region, and the ECUO, representing patient community in 15 EECA countries, fully supports this approach”, – Igor Kilchevskyi, Executive Director of the East Europe and Central Asia Union of People Living with HIV, says.
The ECUO recommends these guidelines for the senior managers of the country HIV/AIDS response programs, specialists of the procurement agencies, partners in the implementation of HIV treatment access programs, NGO activists in the countries and all other interested parties.
According to this document, its aim is to ensure a continuous supply of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, safely, rapidly and efficiently implement the 2016 WHO consolidated ARV guidelines and enable a smooth transition to optimized ARV regimens.
Since 2016, WHO has recommended adopting new alternative ARV drug options in HIV treatment regimens: dolutegravir (DTG) and efavirenz 400 mg (EFV400) for first-line therapy and darunavir/ritonavir (DRV/r) and raltegravir (RAL) for second- and third-line therapy.
Implementation of optimized regimens and dosage forms will contribute to the efficient and continuous ARV therapy, improvement of HIV treatment services quality, thus contributing to cost reduction.
WHO is a reputable international organization, whose activities have significant influence on the quality of life of hundreds of millions people worldwide. Each program or document is not just a statistical figure. It’s the life which we potentially managed to save. It’s the child who will grow up and live a full life. The WHO cooperation and interaction with the ECUO and other international organizations, patient communities, representatives of participating countries and other stakeholders worldwide ensures real opportunities to change the situation for the better.
It should be noted that the document was presented in the run-up of the dialogue in Poland, initiated by the ECUO. The meeting included the discussion with stakeholders, and the recommendations prompted interest among the participants. Upon the outcomes of the dialogue in Poland, the new WHO HIV treatment guidelines were widely disseminated among the communities representing the key affected populations. The document became a powerful advocacy tool for the NGO activists in the countries to initiate amending of the national treatment guidelines, which the NGOs have been actively discussing with the state officials. The guidelines in some of the EECA countries were amended as soon as in autumn 2017.