The WHO has set a goal for 2005 of getting antiretroviral medications to 3 million of the 5.8 million people living in developing countries who need them. This goal, called 3 by 5, had been seen by many as quite ambitious, but this report shows some progress. AIDS medications are now being provided to 12.4 percent of those who need them in order to survive, compared to 7.5 percent in mid-2004. The number of facilities for providing the medication is also now far greater than the target of 1000, which WHO had set for the end of 2004.
WHO warns, however, that much more financing is needed to achieve 3 by 5, noting a $2 billion shortfall in needed resources. It says drug pricing is still a barrier, and states that the cost of medication for patients unable to take the normal, first-line course of treatment will pose an increasingly serious public health threat. The report also highlights that much more work is urgently needed to deliver appropriate treatment to children with AIDS, who the report says have been tragically neglected.
The 3 by 5 goal is a solemn promise made to the most desperate people in the world, and we cannot allow a gap of $2 billion to stop this encouraging progress, stated Dr. Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance, an advocacy group based in
When he submits his 2005 supplemental budget to Congress, President Bush should include emergency funds for WHO technical assistance and for the training and retention of healthcare personnel in
Also this week, a major generic drug maker in
Confusion has been sown and precious resources wasted as the Administration unnecessarily insisted on brand name drugs, said Zeitz. This approval, a full two years after the Presidents declaration of a global AIDS emergency, is a positive development. But, the product that was approved is not a fixed-dose combination, and, as a result, is not as easy to take. Also, the company would not have gotten its drug approved without positive relationships with several brand name companies, something not all producers of essential, generic medications enjoy.
Source: Global AIDS