Report on HIV/AIDS Drug Access Shows ‘Encouraging, Painfully Slow Progress,’ Editorial Says
A recent report released by UNAIDS, UNICEF and the World Health Organization on antiretroviral drug access "reported encouraging but painfully slow progress in 2007, the good news tempered by grave challenges," an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says. The report found that although the rate of HIV/AIDS-related deaths "continues to decline," almost "2.5 million new infections were recorded last year," the editorial says, adding that the 3 by 5 Initiative target" has been met, but two years after the target date." In addition, "HIV testing and counseling have increased significantly in many countries," but "surveys suggest the majority of [HIV-positive] people are unaware of their status," according to the editorial. It adds that between 2004 and 2007, the "cost of most antiretroviral therapies in poor countries dropped 30% to 64%" but that "as patients live longer, the funding must rise as well, an estimated $41 billion required by 2015 to meet the needs."
HIV/AIDS "need not be the inevitable sentence of death it was some 20 years ago," the editorial says, adding, "Among the important contributors to the extended survival rate is increased access to cheap antiretroviral drug treatments." To provide all of the estimated 33.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide with drug access "early enough is an enormous task that demands an enduring commitment," the editorial concludes (Akron Beacon Journal, 6/4).