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[afro-nets] 700, 000 receiving AIDS treatment in developing countries

700,000 receiving AIDS treatment in developing countries

[From the moderator: You may download the "3 by 5" progress re-
port, 2004 as Adobe PDF file (64 pp. 1.6 MB) at:]

Joint Media Release WHO/UNAIDS/Global Fund/US Government

700,000 people living with AIDS in developing countries now re-
ceiving treatment

26 Jan 2005

Partnerships Across All Sectors Are Driving Treatment Scale Up

By the end of 2004, 700,000 people living with AIDS in develop-
ing countries were receiving antiretroviral (ART) treatment
thanks to the efforts of national governments, donors and other
partners. This is an increase of approximately 75% in the total
number receiving treatment from a year ago, and is up from 440,
000 in July 2004.

Today, at a joint press conference at the World Economic Forum's
Annual Meeting, Switzerland, the World Health Organization
(WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS),
the United States Government and the Global Fund to fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria revealed the results of their joint ef-
forts to increase the availability of ART in poor countries.
They underlined that progress has been made thanks to extensive
collaboration and unity of purpose. However all the organiza-
tions warned that major, continued efforts are needed in coun-
tries and internationally to continue working towards the goal
of access to treatment for all who need it.

"We salute the countries who have now shown us that treatment is
possible and can be scaled up quickly even in the poorest set-
tings. AIDS treatment access is expanding every day thanks to
the dedicated work of doctors, nurses, health workers and people
living with HIV and AIDS, who are often working under difficult
circumstances to turn the dream of universal treatment into a
reality," said Dr LEE Jong-wook, WHO Director-General.

The organizations warned that there are still very real chal-
lenges to reaching the goal of universal access to treatment. In
many countries, the speed of progress has rapidly increased, but
to achieve universal access, the international community and na-
tional governments need to do much more to translate political
and financial commitments into real actions in countries.

"The heart and soul of President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS
Relief is to work shoulder to shoulder with host governments and
our other partners in those nations in support of the national
strategy of each country," said Ambassador Randall Tobias, the
US Global AIDS Coordinator.

"Although the results are being discussed today by donors and
international organizations, the results were achieved by the
work of talented and dedicated people in-country. We are dedi-
cated to supporting their efforts, but the true credit rests
with them."

Collaboration across all sectors is making treatment happen.
Treatment is happening because national governments are taking
the lead to coordinate efforts with all partners to scale up
treatment in rural and urban areas. The Global Fund is providing
flexible funds to governments and projects. The United States is
funding, as well as providing technical assistance and guidance
for, program and capacity development to support national
strategies. WHO and UNAIDS are providing guidance and technical
assistance to help countries turn finance into programmes. NGOs,
faithbased organizations, networks of people living with
HIV/AIDS and the private sector are all contributing.

"Collaboration over the past year has shown that several initia-
tives can work in tandem to achieve real acceleration. While to-
day's figures are encouraging, the work so far has been laying
the ground work for a much larger expansion in the months and
years to come," said Dr Richard Feachem, Executive Director of
the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

WHO and UNAIDS believe the current figures are the most accurate
estimates to date. They are based on a composite of numbers
given by countries and partners. In the region with the heaviest
burden - sub-Saharan Africa - the number of people on treatment
has doubled over six months from 150,000 to 310,000. In Asia,
the figure has doubled since June from 50,000 to 100,000. In
Latin America and the Caribbean, the numbers continued to im-
prove and there are now 275 000 people on treatment in this re-
gion. Botswana and more than ten countries in Latin America are
already treating 50% or more of those in need in their coun-
tries. Building on years of AIDS awareness and prevention pro-
grammes, Uganda and Thailand are expected to be treating 50% or
more people needing ART in the first half of 2005.

At the beginning of December 2004, 240,000 people were on treat-
ment as a result of financing by the US government and the
Global Fund. This number is increasing rapidly as newly started
treatment programmes accelerate.

"We know that treatment is more than just access to antiretrovi-
rals," said Dr Peter Piot, UNAIDS Executive Director. "People
living with HIV need comprehensive services, from testing and
counselling to nutritional support. Just as there is an urgent
need to increase access to treatment, we must also renew our
commitment to preventing new HIV infections."

WHO and UNAIDS estimate that at the end of 2004 around six mil-
lion people were in need of treatment in developing countries.
In December 2003 WHO, UNAIDS and UN partners announced the "3 by
5" target, challenging countries to get three million people or
half of those in need on treatment by the end of 2005. WHO and
UNAIDS estimate that overall 72% of un-met need for treatment is
in Sub-Saharan Africa; 22% is in Asia; India, Nigeria and South
Africa alone account for 41% of the overall need for treatment.
The "3 by 5" target can only be reached if major progress is
made in the countries with the greatest unmet need.

WHO and UNAIDS today published the results of global efforts to
increase the availability of ART in poor countries in the second
"3 by 5" Progress Report. The total of 700,000 people receiving
treatment reaches the interim target for 2004, as outlined in
the WHO/UNAIDS "3 by 5" strategy.

Leela McCullough, Ed.D.
Director of Information Services
30 California Street, Watertown, MA 02472, USA
Tel: +1-617-926-9400 Fax: +1-617-926-1212

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