Building on 7 years of progress, New Horizons will continue enrolling new patients through 2025 to receive donated medicines and implement enhancements to address last-mile challenges in pediatric HIV care . Sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly 90 percent of all children living with HIV, highlighting the critical need to improve pediatric HIV care in the region
As the world marks the fortieth anniversary of the HIV epidemic, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson, on July 15, 2021 announced a renewed commitment to the New Horizons Collaborative, an initiative that aims to address critical gaps in pediatric HIV care and expand access to second- and third-line HIV medicines for children and adolescents living with drug-resistant forms of HIV across sub-Saharan Africa.
Under the next phase of the program, New Horizons will continue enrolling new HIV patients through at least 2025. Johnson & Johnson, through its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, will continue donating PREZISTA® (darunavir) and INTELENCE® (etravirine), two important HIV medicines, to treat pediatric and adolescent patients previously enrolled in the program and those who will be enrolled in the future until they turn 24 years of age, at which point they will be transitioned into national adult HIV treatment programs.
Beyond the medicines, EGPAF, with support from Johnson & Johnson, the Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM) and others, will continue strengthening the capacity of health systems in the 11 participating countries to advance pediatric and adolescent HIV care and enhance core New Horizons program elements, including access to medicines, supply-chain strengthening and data generation. These measures are critical to protecting global progress against HIV epidemic amid setbacks caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Patients, caretakers, health care workers and Ministries of Health have all recognized the New Horizons Collaborative as being timely, relevant and much-needed,” said Chip Lyons, President and Chief Executive Officer of EGPAF. “We are eager to build on the lessons learned from the first phase of this lifesaving initiative to further strengthen its reach and impact and, hopefully, provide a model for other countries and regions to follow – ultimately moving us closer to an AIDS-free generation.”
It has been 40 years since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which remains one of the most significant challenges in global health. There are now nearly 38 million people worldwide living with HIV, including 1.7 million children under the age of 15—many of whom contracted the virus through mother-to-child transmission. In addition, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for nearly 90 percent of all children and adolescents living with HIV globally. While access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) has improved, children and adolescents living with HIV are far less likely to access these treatments than adult patients, a gap that is particularly urgent in eastern and southern Africa.
“While the world has made tremendous progress against HIV, we must continue to do better for the children and young people living with this virus so that they can live long, healthy lives,” said Stacy Meyer, Vice President, Africa Implementation & Impact, Global Public Health, Johnson & Johnson. “Since its inception, New Horizons has helped provide critical medicines and technical expertise to help find and treat children and adolescents with HIV. Johnson & Johnson is proud to announce our continued commitment to improving last-mile access to pediatric HIV treatment and care in sub-Saharan Africa, as part of our decades-long commitment to help make HIV history.”
New Horizons Collaborative: A New Phase
To date, New Horizons has enrolled 1,400 patients on second- and third-line ART across all participating countries, including Cameroon, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Evidence from an ongoing real-world EGPAF-led study showed that 78 percent of children and adolescents on third-line ART with donated products have achieved and maintained viral suppression 12 months after being initiated on treatment.
In the next phase of the program, EGPAF and New Horizons partners will implement a number of enhancements to maximize the program’s reach and impact. These include additional forecasting and supply chain support to enable health authorities to better track medicines from the initial donation through the last mile of health delivery, collecting and leveraging data on patient finding and treatment outcomes, and supporting countries as they work to implement updated 2021 World Health Organization (WHO) treatment guidelines for pediatric and adolescent HIV.
These measures build on the successes and lessons learned detailed in a qualitative analysis of New Horizons sponsored by Johnson & Johnson through its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, which found that the program was highly effective in bringing second- and third-line treatment to patients failing on other regimens. Data from the analysis – which will be shared at the International Workshop in HIV Pediatrics on July 16 – highlights the impact of third-line medicines on patients’ lives, including useful data on treatment management, and demonstrates the role that health systems capacity building has played in helping countries manage third-line treatment options for children and adolescents.
The launch of the next phase of the program was marked at an event on July 15, hosted by Johnson & Johnson, in collaboration with EGPAF, in the lead-up to the International AIDS Society Conference (July 18-21).
First launched in 2014, the New Horizons Collaborative brings together a host of collaborators including EGPAF, the Janssen Pharmaceuticals Companies of Johnson & Johnson, the Partnership for Supply Chain Management, Imperial Health Sciences (IHS), CIPHER-IAS, The Relevance Network Ltd and Right to Care. Learn more about the program here: http://www.newhorizonshiv.com