Most Governments Not Committing Adequate Resources to HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment, Editorial Says
"Despite all the lofty goals set by world leaders" and the "billions of dollars thrown into the fight to quench the global AIDS pandemic in recent years, it is discouraging to learn the world is still falling behind," a New York Times editorial says. Although a recent report from UNAIDS and the World Health Organization "found some encouraging signs of progress," it also found that the number of people living with HIV worldwide "continued to grow" in 2006 and that the number of deaths from AIDS-related illnesses "reached an all-time high," according to the editorial. "Most disturbingly, some countries that had been trumpeted as successes in controlling AIDS," such as Thailand and Uganda, "seemed to be having a resurgence," the editorial says. In addition, a recent report from the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition "pointed to shortfalls in an area where substantial progress seemed to have been made: the provision of antiretroviral drugs to save or extend the lives of" people living with HIV/AIDS, according to the Times. The United Nations and the Group of Eight industrialized nations "have set a goal of providing 'universal access' to AIDS treatment by 2010, by which time they hope to have 9.8 million people receiving" antiretrovirals, the editorial says, adding, "At the current rate, the coalition estimates, they will fall five million short." Progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS has been "slowed by many factors, including insufficient testing to identify people who are infected and weak public health services for delivering the drugs," the Times says, concluding, "But the overriding problem may be a loss of the sense of urgency and a reluctance by most governments to commit the huge resources needed to provide universal access to treatment, prevention, care and support" (New York Times, 12/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.