HIV :: Significant growth in access to HIV treatment in 2006

Access to antiretroviral therapy for advanced HIV infection in low- and middle-income countries continued to grow throughout 2006, with more than 2 million people living with HIV/AIDS receiving treatment in December 2006, a 54% increase over the 1.3 million people on treatment one year earlier in these countries.

These encouraging findings were released today in a new report, ?Towards universal access: scaling up priority HIV/AIDS interventions in the health sector,? published by WHO, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and UNICEF.

At the same time, the report details a number of key areas in which efforts to scale up services are insufficient if the global goal of moving towards ?universal access to comprehensive prevention programmes, treatment, care and support? for HIV by 2010 is to be achieved. For example, just 11% of HIV-positive pregnant women in need of antiretrovirals (ARVs) to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in low- and middle-income countries are receiving them. Global coverage of HIV testing and counselling remains unsatisfactorily low, as does coverage of prevention and treatment interventions for injecting drug users. And while countries committed themselves to setting targets for universal access by the end of 2006, only 90 had provided data on these by that date.

?The combined efforts of donors, affected nations, UN agencies and public health authorities are providing substantial, ongoing progress in access to HIV services,? said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, WHO. ?Yet, in many ways we are still at the beginning of this commitment. We need ambitious national programmes, much greater global mobilization, and increased accountability if we are going to succeed.”


HIV :: Significant growth in access to HIV treatment in 2006
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