The International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) was formed at the International Treatment Preparedness Summit held in 2003 in Cape Town, South Africa. At the Summit, 125 activists from 67 countries gathered to discuss how to expedite access to treatment to the millions of people living with HIV in the global South. Participants advocated for a drastic reduction in prices of expensive drugs, and to allow the manufacture and importation of cheap generic copies of medication. At the time less than 500,000 people had access to antiretroviral treatment given that it cost more than $10,000 per person per year.
The participants at the Treatment Summit focused on developing a set of policies and regional advocacy strategies to pave way for the realization of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal of providing HIV antiretroviral therapy to 3 million people living with HIV by 2005 in low and middle-income countries. This target was eventually attained by 2007, and the initiative served as a critical stepping-stone in securing political commitment for reaching universal access.
Goals of Treatment Summit
The primary goals of the Treatment Summit were to:
- Develop a framework for the creation, maintenance and enhancement of local, regional and global treatment preparedness efforts;
- Provide an opportunity for advocates to begin crafting a template for approaching foundations, national governments and international organisations to directly support local and regional efforts for education and advocacy in the developing world;
- Provide the first opportunity for many people working on treatment preparedness around the world to meet and discuss their work with each other; and
- Provide opportunities to learn about the state of treatment access and preparedness on international and regional levels.
Soon after the Treatment Summit, ITPC partnered with the Tides Foundation to form the HIV Collaborative Fund to support local, national and regional HIV treatment literacy and advocacy. Subsequently, ITPC launched the Treatment Monitoring and Advocacy Project, which focused on assessing HIV treatment policy and programming and holding governments and international institutions accountable for the treatment gap through its Missing the Target reports. Treatment activists also partnered with ITPC to create the World Community Advisory Board – a global mechanism to enhance capacity and support new voices from the ranks of those most affected to engage with pharmaceutical companies on affordable and quality treatment.
Over the last decade, ITPC evolved its programs and advocacy to directly address the ever-widening global treatment gap. Through direct grants and support to community-based organizations for treatment education, peer-led treatment research and monitoring, ITPC works with civil society advocates to monitor the delivery of HIV services in their countries and advocate for change. As a result, critical gaps in the HIV response are exposed earlier and people are empowered to advocate for relevant solutions.
Today, ITPC is well poised to deliver treatment education and community-led treatment access advocacy initiatives in over 9 regions through its networks and partners. We fight for the most effective drug combinations and low-cost, community-appropriate diagnostics, including second- and third-line drugs that are largely unavailable in poor communities in the Global South, including in middle-income countries.