Progress on 3 by 5 Initiative Suggests Success Is Possible, Should Attract Wealthy Nations’ Attention to HIV/AIDS, Editorial Says
Even though the World Health Organization's 3 by 5 Initiative -- which aims to have three million HIV-positive people on antiretroviral treatment by the end of 2005 -- was "dissed as impossible" when the goal was announced in 2003 and progress on the initiative so far "seem[s] skimpy," it is a "start," and "success, even in baby steps, can breed success," a San Francisco Chronicle editorial says (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/27). WHO on Wednesday announced the findings from the December 2004 "3 by 5 Progress Report," saying that 700,000 people in developing countries were on antiretroviral drugs at the end of 2004, compared with 440,000 as of June 2004, but only about 12% of an estimated 5.8 million HIV-positive adults in developing countries who need antiretrovirals are receiving them. WHO estimated that between $3.1 billion and $3.8 billion in funding would be needed to meet the 3 by 5 goals in 49 countries; however, only $1.55 billion has been pledged so far, leaving an approximately $2 billion funding gap (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/27). Wealthy nations -- which so far have paid "little attention" to HIV/AIDS in part because the pandemic "seems far away, hopeless and impossible to handle" -- should see the report as a "reason for hope, not fatalism and indifference," according to the editorial. Although the progress so far on the 3 by 5 goals is "clearly not enough," the report should help "jolt" prejudices surrounding HIV/AIDS, the editorial says. "The sum of these events shouldn't lead anyone to think AIDS will soon diminish," the editorial says, concluding, "But with money, medicine and the right programs, it is possible to wage the long battle to vanquish the disease" (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.