Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), transmitted by the female sandfly, is the second-deadliest parasitic disease after malaria. In 2014, 90 percent of all new VL cases occurred in six countries – Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. Without treatment, VL is nearly always fatal.
Epidemics of VL and HIV/AIDS compound each other. VL accelerates disease progression in people with HIV by suppressing their immune systems, and people with HIV are at substantially greater risk of becoming infected with VL, particularly if they are not receiving antiretroviral therapy.
VL is one of 10 neglected tropical diseases
Since 1992, Gilead has partnered with the World Health Organization and other groups to make AmBisome available at discounted prices in developing countries. In September 2016, Gilead announced an expansion of this partnership by committing $20 million in funding and drug donations to expand access to diagnostic services and treatment for VL. The donation, which includes 380,000 vials of AmBisome, supports national plans to control and eliminate the disease.