Attention to Africa’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic Overshadows Problem in India, Other Countries, Lancet Editorial Says
Although the World Health Organization last month in a progress report said that its 3 by 5 Initiative likely will not meet the goal of delivering antiretroviral drugs to three million people by the end of this year, the announcement must not be allowed to eclipse other important findings from the report and make the initiative "synonymous with the mass of other Africa-focused anti-poverty efforts," an editorial published in the July 9 issue of the journal Lancet says. It is "dramatic" that 76% of the HIV-positive people who need antiretroviral treatment live in sub-Saharan Africa, but the statistic overshadows "the real hotspots of individual country burdens," the editorial says. For example, India has the second-highest number of people in need of treatment after South Africa, with about 735,000 people not receiving drugs, according to the Lancet. India's AIDS policy did not support the delivery of drugs through its public health care system until 2003, and medications still are available only in government-run hospitals in six of India's 28 states, the editorial says, concluding that an "imbalanced global strategy" -- rather than "lack of momentum" -- is the real threat to the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic (Lancet, 7/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.