HIV and hepatitis news - June 2019

Director's message

We saw many new advances in WHO’s HIV and hepatitis work during the first half of 2019.

Our first-ever integrated “Progress report on HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections [STIs] 2019” was released at the 72nd World Health Assembly, highlighting the need for greater innovation to achieve the elimination targets set in the 3 global health sector strategies for 2016–2021.

The ECHO study results showed that while there is no risk posed to women by hormonal contraceptives, women face a high rate of HIV infection. At WHO, we are urging countries to improve linkages between HIV and sexual and reproductive health services and to scale up HIV prevention.

Further evidence related to the use of dolutegravir has come to light. This will be considered as we update the WHO recommendations on antiretroviral (ARV) regimens. A new advisory group of women living with HIV was also established to help guide our work in this area.

We plan to release major new ARV guidelines at the 10th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science, which will take place in Mexico on 21–24 July.

We will advocate for increased funding for hepatitis efforts during the campaign for World Hepatitis Day 2019, which will be commemorated on 28 July under the theme "Invest in eliminating hepatitis". WHO and partners will organize special events in Pakistan.

Personally, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all my colleagues and partners, as I retire from WHO this week.

It has been an honour to work with you over the past decades, to be part of and help shape the global HIV movement, and to turn the tide of HIV and, increasingly, viral hepatitis epidemics.

The "job" has certainly not been completed. Yet, new paths and opportunities should be grasped. I am confident that with your continued commitments and collaboration we will be able to keep our promise to eliminate HIV, hepatitis and STIs by 2030.

With warm regards,
Dr Gottfried Hirnschall
Director, Department of HIV/AIDS, Global Hepatitis Programme