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IAVI welcomes companies' intent to provide discounted AIDS treatments

May 11, 2000

NEW YORK, 11 May 2000—The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative said it welcomed the announcement of a new dialogue between the United Nations and the pharmaceutical industry aimed at providing AIDS drugs at a deep discount for people living in poor countries.

"It has long been evident that new types of public-private partnerships are needed to address the crisis of AIDS in developing countries," said Seth Berkley, M.D., president of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.

"This appears to be a real effort on the part of the pharmaceutical industry to address treatment and care needs in developing countries," Dr. Berkley added. "The proof will be in the details. Still, we commend Dr. Piot, UNAIDS and industry leaders for their efforts to make these drugs affordable, and for working to build new delivery systems for these critically needed medications."

"While access to treatments and stepped up preventions programs are critical in the short-term, a vaccine remains the best long-term hope for ending this epidemic," Berkley continued. "Despite current prevention efforts, 15,000 people become infected with HIV every day. The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative is committed to forging public-private partnerships to ensure that once a preventive vaccine is developed, it will be affordable, and simultaneously available, in industrialized and developing countries."

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative is an international non-profit scientific organization founded in 1996 whose mission is to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world. IAVI's work focuses on three areas: accelerating scientific progress, mobilizing support through advocacy and education, and encouraging industrial involvement in AIDS vaccine development. In addition to the governments of the U.K. and the Netherlands, IAVI's major funders include the World Bank and the Gates, Rockefeller, Sloan and Starr Foundations. IAVI is a collaborating centre of UNAIDS.