The new partnership, which supports the achievement of U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 3 (good health and well-being), is designed to address these challenges head-on by optimizing existing HIV/AIDS service delivery infrastructure and more specifically enhancing services for men aged 25-50. For AstraZeneca, PEPFAR's sizable patient reach presents an opportunity to screen for hypertension during clinical triage; for PEPFAR, the ability to make hypertension screening available to men alongside HIV/AIDS services supports efforts to identify harder-to-reach patients for HIV testing, specifically males aged 25-50, and provide appropriate referral to HIV/AIDS treatment. Through joint implementation, both programs will increase their impact and leverage existing program infrastructure to engage new patients in lifesaving treatment and care.
Mark Mallon, EVP International, member of the Senior Executive Team and Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) sponsor at AstraZeneca, said: "AstraZeneca shares PEPFAR's vision of improving the health and lives of underserved communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Increasing rates of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in the region threaten individuals, families and communities, and burden already-stressed health systems. We are honoured and proud to join with PEPFAR to improve access to vital testing and treatment which help stem the tide of both hypertension and HIV/AIDS."
Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, said: "Together, we have made remarkable progress in the global response to HIV/AIDS. Yet, we need innovative approaches to better identify and serve harder to reach populations, including men, who too often only present for care when they are very ill. Through this new partnership with AstraZeneca we will enhance our ability to deliver earlier and more effective HIV/AIDS testing and treatment for working-age men in two high-prevalence counties in Kenya."
Data show that men often access HIV/AIDS testing and treatment at far lower rates than do women. For example, according to the most recent Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey, 79.8% of women surveyed had received an HIV test whereas only 62.5% of men had received one. This significant gender disparity leads to HIV-infected men entering care with more advanced disease, being less likely to receive lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART), and having higher mortality than HIV-infected women. Late diagnosis also results in missed opportunities for HIV prevention, including early ART initiation, resulting in ongoing transmission to previously uninfected partners.
AstraZeneca created Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) to support national governments in Africa in testing and scaling effective models of hypertension care, including treatment through access to discounted medicines. Since the program started in 2014, HHA and partners have screened almost 2 million people, trained more than 3,000 healthcare workers, and activated over 400 health facilities to provide hypertension services. HHA has identified new strategies for bringing hard-to-reach populations into hypertension care, including men between the ages of 25 and 50.
Hypertension and cardiovascular disease are two of the largest drivers of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) across Africa. Prevalence of hypertension in Africa has increased significantly over the past three decades. In 2000, there were approximately 80 million adults with hypertension in sub-Saharan Africa. Current epidemiological data suggest that this figure will rise to 150 million by 2025. In addition, evidence indicates that complications related to hypertension, in particular stroke and heart failure, are increasingly common in this region.
Launching in October 2016 with a one-year pilot program in Western Kenya, the partnership, in collaboration with the Kenyan Ministry of Health will leverage PEPFAR's existing HIV/AIDS infrastructure in Homa Bay and Kisumu. This area was identified due to the high burden for all patients but particularly working-age males who have not yet been reached by current HIV/AIDS programming. Longer term, the partnership aims to extend to other areas where the burden of both HIV/AIDS and hypertension is particularly high.
Subject to the availability of funds, it is intended that the initial pilot will be implemented by PATH, a Seattle-based PEPFAR partner with extensive expertise implementing both HIV and NCD programming. PATH is the leading implementing partner for the large-scale USAID APHIAplus programme, which integrates and improves health service delivery in Western and Nyanza regions of Kenya.
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas - Respiratory and Autoimmunity, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases, and Oncology. The company is also active in inflammation, infection and neuroscience through numerous collaborations. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.
The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was launched in 2003 and represents America's commitment to saving lives and the shared responsibility of all global partners to achieve an AIDS-free generation. PEPFAR is the largest effort by any nation to combat a single disease. With the generous support of the American people, the U.S. government has committed more than $70 billion to bilateral HIV/AIDS programs; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and bilateral tuberculosis programs.