BioSure's Role in Delivering 'The First 90'
The global community has come a long way in the fight against AIDS. In the last decade AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 45% and new HIV infection rates by almost 10%. On top of this, there are currently over 17 million people receiving anti retroviral treatment (ART). These are impressive sounding statistics, but do they point to the near-defeat of AIDS?
Despite such exciting figures, they do not actually reveal a potentially dangerous trend. We could, in fact, be heading towards an outcome whereby the epidemic outruns the response. Time is of the essence. Rather than approaching a world with “zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination” many experts fear that we are, at present, on an erroneous trajectory.
In response to this fear, UNAIDS established an advisory panel to offer a new, ambitious yet achievable target to put the global community back on track and ensure the epidemic’s demise. The panel devised a revolutionary target “cascade” in order to beat AIDS by 2030: the “90, 90, 90 Goals”
- 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status
- 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy
- 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression
Fundamental to the delivery of these goals is diagnosing HIV-infections as early as possible. By achieving this, treatment can be used as prevention (TASP) and onward transmission will cease. By 2030 HIV will cease to exist as a global health threat.
The ‘First 90’ is the trigger to kicking off the cascade : knowing one’s HIV status. Yet, worryingly, as it stands only 56% of all people living globally with HIV know they have the virus. We must therefore come up with new tools, new innovative ways of testing. The key is provide choices that can reach “key populations” – groups most prone to infection but least likely to seek test and treat programmes.
“Key populations” also tend to be individuals in the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach parts of the world including low and middle-income countries, those at war and those where healthcare-provision is minimal.
Where certain social and legal barriers exist to prevent access to, or indeed engagement with, HIV testing and treatment, HIV self-tests could unlock the door to a world without AIDS. This new technology empowers individuals to conduct an HIV test themselves, wherever and whenever is most suitable for them, in privacy and without a healthcare professional and get their own result while they wait. Enabling people previously disenfranchised to take responsibility.
Today there is absolutely no reason why anyone should die as a consequence of HIV infection. A cost effective, and in many places totally funded, simple treatment exists. Test and Treat programmes are being implemented globally. But you can only treat HIV and prevent the long term health damage and stop onward transmission of the virus if you have knowledge of your HIV status. If you don’t test, you can’t treat.
Accelerating the scale up of acceptable and implementable testing programmes that have the potential to reach all of the undiagnosed are fundamental to achieving the first 90.
Sustainable development is only achievable if adult populations can be kept large enough and healthy enough to generate their own income and wealth and, therefore, the ability to fund their own local healthcare systems. HIV/AIDS is a major risk to sustainable global development.
The BioSURE HIV Self Test provides an additonal testing option, to allow people to know their own HIV status, instantly. It is discreet, convenient, uses half a drop of blood and provides an easy to read result in minutes.