3 by 5 Initiative ‘Probably Will Not’ Meet Treatment Goals Within Time Frame, WHO Director General Says
The World Health Organization's 3 by 5 Initiative goal of treating three million HIV-positive people with antiretroviral drugs by 2005 "probably will not" be met, WHO Director-General Jong-Wook Lee said in an interview last week, the CP/Canada.com reports. "[W]e might not be able to meet the three million target by the end of next year," Lee said (Branswell, CP/Canada.com, 11/7). As of July, when the first progress report for the initiative was released, there were approximately 440,000 people receiving treatment under the program. WHO had hoped to have 500,000 HIV-positive people receiving treatment by then (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/12). Lee said that if the target is not met, he does not expect the program's "momentum" to "dissipate," according to the CP/Canada.com. "Together with other partners, we'll try to reach the target," he said, adding, "But even if we don't meet the target, that should not be seen as the end of the world." UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are partners in the program, and Canada is the largest donor country, pledging about $80 million. Lee said that the program has "galvanized" efforts to distribute antiretroviral drugs to people in developing countries, the CP/Canada.com reports. "What I see is the pressure from the people to their governments, to the international community, this will be huge," Lee said, adding, "So clearly starting moving this whole thing is very, very important." UNAIDS estimates that six million HIV-positive people worldwide need antiretroviral drugs (CP/Canada.com, 11/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.