Message from
UNITE's Founder
And President
Ricardo Baptista Leite, MD, MP

These last decades have clearly shown how HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and other infectious diseases directly impact the lives of millions of people who live with these conditions and their families around the globe. For example:

  • 36,9 million people globally were living with HIV (UNAIDS, Global Factsheets 2018)
  • Viral hepatitis is responsible for an estimated 1.34 million deaths per year (WHO, Global Hepatitis Report 2017)
  • 10 million people fell ill with Tuberculosis in 2017 ( WHO, Global Tuberculosis Report 2018)

Infectious diseases remain one of the leading causes of death worldwide. These epidemics represent a major global health threat, as they have a significant burden on lives, communities and health systems. Moreover, these conditions are simultaneously promoters and consequences of inequalities, discrimination and social injustices.

We finally have the scientific evidence and technological means to end HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis and other Infectious Diseases as global health threats. However, political awareness, advocacy, leadership and accountability are still lacking.

As representatives of Citizens, we parliamentarians must do more for the societies we live in.

Therefore, it is our mission to UNITE current and former legislators from around the world to give a coordinated, effective, and strong political response to end infectious diseases as a global health threat.

This is our goal. To contribute towards a unified global response against HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and other infectious diseases as a priority that can no longer be delayed.

It’s time to end HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis and other infectious diseases.

It’s time to UNITE.

Dr. Ricardo Baptista Leite, MD, MP

Founder and President

‘UNITE – Global Parliamentarians Network to end HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and other infectious diseases’

Summary Biography

Ricardo Baptista Leite is the Founder & President of UNITE. Since 2011, Ricardo is a Member of the Portuguese National Parliament where he is, since the beginning of his third term, the Vice-President of the Social Democratic Party Parliamentary Board. He is also the National Spokesperson for Health of the Social Democratic Party. 

Medical Doctor trained in infectious diseases; Ricardo is also the Head of Public Health at Católica University of Portugal.

Ricardo is also the Vice President of the ‘Parliamentary Network on The World Bank & International Monetary Fund’, where he works directly with The World Bank Group and IMF. The network’s mission is to provide a platform for parliamentarians around the globe to advocate for increased accountability and transparency in International Financial Institutions and multilateral development financing.

In April 2019, Ricardo became Global Ambassador of the ‘G20 Health & Development Partnership’ aimed at advising and advocating G20 countries on health policies aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In recognition of Ricardo’s academic work and policy leadership in the field of hepatitis c, Ricardo was awarded by ‘The Economist Intelligence Unit’ as an ‘HCV Change Maker’ (2016). This acknowledgement was attributed to solely six people globally.

UNITE President at the UNITE Global Summit: Virtual 2020