Many of the world’s top relief and aid organizations have united around an ambitious goal: ending the HIV-AIDS pandemic. In Africa, more than 25 million people are living with HIV—a clear sign that improving access to testing and treatment is a critical priority.
Yet in areas hit hardest by HIV—such as the vast sub-Saharan region—access to healthcare centres able to diagnose, treat and provide follow-up HIV patient care is extremely limited. Worldwide, many people living with HIV still do not know their status.
Roche’s Global Access Program was established to expand access to quality, sustainable diagnostic testing and to contribute to the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goal. UNAIDS is targeting 2020 as the year in which 90 percent of people living with HIV will know their status, 90 percent of those diagnosed with HIV will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90 percent of all being treated will have viral suppression, which means the disease is being monitored and is under control and less likely to spread—an important step towards ending the pandemic.
To bring HIV testing to people living in isolated parts of the world—even in areas of intense heat and humidity—we created the cobas Plasma Separation Card for HIV plasma viral load testing. The size of a credit card, it fundamentally changes the way samples are taken, transported and processed for HIV testing, allowing more people to be tested, treated and monitored.
The cobas Plasma Separation Card illustrates our purpose of making a meaningful, positive difference in the lives of patients, their families and society at large. It also serves as an example of what I believe should be the true measure of business success: being a net contributor to society and giving back more than we take. This doesn’t mean we eliminate doing well financially—but this is only one component. Benefiting people and the planet are also part of the definition.
We are proud of the impact of the Roche Global Access Program and, based on its success, we have now expanded it to also include hepatitis, tuberculosis and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing.
The Global Access Program, however, is not just about diagnostics; it's about going above and beyond to support the strengthening of healthcare systems in low- to middle-income countries. For Roche, this means offering training, partnerships and tests at reduced prices, because accessible pricing can be the difference between a patient getting a quality diagnosis or not.
Our innovative diagnostic tests are only meaningful if they reach the people who need them, when they need them—no matter where they live. Our strong global presence helps meet the increased demand for diagnostic testing and helps healthcare systems address their access challenges.