Stories and Viewpoints
June 2, 2022
There have been numerous innovations in science which have transformed HIV/AIDS from a death sentence when it was first discovered 40+ years ago, to a chronically manageable disease when appropriately treated. This is an impressive success for the scientific community, and one in which Viatris has played a key part. However, the rising life expectancy of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and the resultant greying of the HIV epidemic are important drivers of the rising prevalence of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) among PLHIV, who are often times at a higher risk than people without HIV. NCDs are at risk of reversing the decades of progress made on HIV.
For example, people living with HIV:
- Have a two-fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease compared to the rest of the population
- Are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer
- Are affected by a nearly six-fold increased risk for cervical cancer among women living with HIV
Those living with both HIV and NCDs are part of what is known as a syndemic – or synergistic epidemic – which is the aggregation of two or more epidemics or disease clusters in a population with biological interactions, which exacerbates the prognosis and burden of disease. The combination of both HIV and NCDs causes significant and multiple challenges to accessing NCD prevention, treatment and care.
At Viatris, we are uniquely positioned to help address the challenges presented by this syndemic with the joining of experience in NCDs and infectious diseases. We recently supported the NCD Alliance and key experts in the NCD and HIV/AIDS fields including experts from the WHO, UNAIDS, and STOPAIDS to publish a research paper, ‘Long, full, healthy lives: Delivering on the commitment to integrated NCD care for people living with HIV by 2025’ to identify gaps in care as well as propose solutions for this patient population.
This in-depth report provides unique perspectives on where we as the private sector can make a difference and identifies areas for partnership and collaboration to address the syndemic. Partnership and access are two pillars as part of our mission at Viatris to empower people worldwide to live healthier at every stage of life. Based on the recommendations of this research paper Viatris will, together with its partners, explore opportunities to develop and deploy projects to support the integration of NCD and HIV care, to better support these patients worldwide.