Global Access Program: Early Diagnosis of Babies at Risk of HIV

Timely HIV infant diagnostics are required to save the lives of HIV-infected babies. The Roche Global Access Program provides dual-target HIV-1 technology for qualitative testing through an affordable price offering for qualifying organizations in 92 eligible countries with the highest disease burden.
Global NGOs 1
Government 2
Intergovernmental Organizations and Multilaterals 2
Bilateral development organizations 1
  • Bring access to HIV testing and monitoring in sub-Saharan Africa in line with access programs for management of HIV worldwide.
  • Build on Roche’s diagnostic support and expertise to establish state-of-the-art testing and training facilities and other capacity building initiatives.

What are the health needs and challenges?

Diagnosis and monitoring are as essential to effective HIV/AIDS treatment as medicines.  In infants born of HIV-positive mothers, early diagnosis is critical in determining HIV exposure. If found HIV positive, they can receive appropriate medical care before they develop significant illness, and can remain healthy despite their infection. If found HIV negative, the mother can get appropriate counselling to ensure their child maintains a HIV-free status. Doctors also need to monitor disease progression and efficacy of treatment in patients on anti-retroviral therapies so they can prescribe the most effective medicine and make adjustments if patients become resistant.

However, limited testing infrastructure, long travel distances and technological limitations often result in people not returning to collect their test results, or even being tested in the first place.

Partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

The Global Access Program is a multi-faceted program to address barriers that prevent early diagnosis of infants born to HIV positive mothers along with monitoring HIV positive people on anti-retroviral therapies.

The program includes:

  • Using Roche R&D expertise to re-design tests and delivery of test results to suit local conditions
  • Building laboratory capacity and enhancing skills of lab technicians to support reliable testing
  • Introducing differential pricing for HIV diagnostic tests in partnership with international health organisations.

To overcome some of the barriers, Roche re-designed its tests and developed a novel method for gathering and transporting blood samples. For example, by using dried blood spots which require only a small amount of blood and can be sent for testing via the post, early infant diagnosis is now more accessible.

The company also introduced text message (SMS) technology, making it easier to send test results back to rural healthcare facilities, saving people from having to return to the main testing site for their results.

The improved communication has several benefits:

  • Test results are easily and quickly sent to rural locations
  • Patient follow-up is improved by reducing logistical bottlenecks
  • Patients don’t need to revisit the lab, which are often located only in major towns

The collection card has expanded access to HIV diagnosis throughout the remotest areas of southern Africa. Roche continues to work with other organisations in public-private partnerships to ensure subsequent medical care for babies with HIV.

An education program trains local doctors and nurses to carry out HIV testing with limited resources, and keeps them fully informed about the latest advances in HIV/AIDS care.

Results and milestones

Working in partnership with local communities and hospitals and international agencies such as UNICEF, UNITAID, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc., the Global Access Program is building and equipping laboratories, training healthcare workers, and diagnosing and monitoring HIV/AIDS patients.

In 2021, over 8 million people in Africa use our viral load testing to manage their HIV infection and to date over 11 million babies have been tested for HIV with Roche tests.

Since 2015 we have trained over 8300 laboratory professionals, covering 103 training courses and workshops, across 18 countries.

Over 60 molecular testing centres established, including a number of national testing labs in South Africa, Latin America, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar.

Geographic Reach
  • Africa
  • Americas
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Europe
  • South-East Asia
  • Western Pacific
See Where
Disease Area
  • Women’s and Child Health
  • Infectious and Parasitic Disease
  • Non-communicable Diseases
See Disease Areas
Target Population
  • Children
  • Women
  • People with low incomes
  • Marginalized/indigenous people
SGDs the partnership contributes to
SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing
  1. 3.8: Achieve universal health coverage
  2. 3.C: Health workforce
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals 
Partner organizations
Global NGOs

Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)


Ministry of Health India

Ministry of Health Kenya

Intergovernmental Organizations and Multilaterals



Bilateral development organizations

US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

Additional information