WHO Not Likely To Achieve 3 By 5 Initiative Goal, Officials Say
The World Health Organization likely will not meet its goal of delivering antiretroviral drugs to three million people by the end of this year, senior agency officials have said, but they added that the goal has incited change and that they will continue to work for better access to treatment, BBC News reports (Allen, BBC News, 6/29). U.S. Ambassador Randall Tobias, head of the State Department Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, said more commitment from donors and recipients is necessary to meet the WHO goal, according to the CP/Canada.com. "There aren't going to be any magic answers and there's going to be some pained stretching involved to come up with the economic resources to address this," Tobias said (Higgins, CP/Canada.com, 6/29). A WHO progress report to be released Wednesday is expected to show that the agency is nowhere near achieving its goal despite great progress, BBC News reports. "It is going to be extremely difficult to reach that target, but the point is that we are going to get to three million," WHO HIV/AIDS Programme Director Jim Kim said, adding, "The scale-up is happening in every single country in the world." Obstacles to reaching the target include a lack of a coordinated strategy to deliver drugs and shortages of staff to monitor patients, as well as an increasing demand for the drugs as more people undergo HIV testing. According to a WHO report released in January, 700,000 people worldwide were receiving antiretroviral drugs at the end of last year (BBC News, 6/29).
PEPFAR Treatment Goal on Track
The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is on track to meet its five-year target of delivering antiretroviral treatment to two million people in developing countries, Tobias said, according to VOA News. Tobias said the goal of supporting treatment for 200,000 people in 15 countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean by the end of this month was reached in March. About 235,000 people -- mostly in Africa -- are receiving treatment, he said. "I am particularly encouraged that 57% of those receiving treatment are women and girls," Tobias said, adding, "We are working to ensure that women and girls have full access to prevention, treatment and care, which in many nations has historically been a problem." However, Tobias said more prevention efforts are needed to combat HIV/AIDS and between 40 million and 100 million people need to be tested for HIV for PEPFAR to achieve its five-year goal (Schlein, VOA News, 6/28).