Gilead Sciences has announced the launch of a joint initiative with the Elton John AIDS Foundation, in order to address HIV in parts of Europe and Central Asia.

The pharma giant announced the “ground-breaking” RADIAN initiative at the Fast-Track Cities 2019 conference in London, where it explained that the programme seeks to meaningfully address new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA).

RAIDAN builds on the existing collaboration between the Foundation and Gilead in the EECA Key Populations fund, “leveraging both organisations’ greater understanding of the region’s needs to drive forward bold and meaningful action to address specific challenges.”

“Every day, more than 400 people in EECA become infected with HIV and 100 die from AIDS,” said Sir Elton John, founder, Elton John AIDS Foundation. “My Foundation’s work in establishing the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Key populations fund with Gilead and others a couple of years ago forcefully underscored for us the need to drastically expand our efforts in the region.

“So, I’m delighted that the Foundation is once again working with Gilead through RADIAN to provide much-needed support and funding to reverse trends and reach some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Together, we can create change, save lives and ensure no one is left behind in the fight to end the epidemic.”

The first model city will be Almaty, Kazakhstan, which faces a disproportionately heavy burden of HIV. There are approximately 7,400 people living with HIV in Almaty, and the city has an HIV prevalence that is almost twice the national average.