Alex Blaze

More people are getting AIDS meds worldwide

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 02, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Africa, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, prevention, treatment, un

The UN released some good numbers in the global fight against AIDS:

In 2008, officials estimated more than 4 million people were on AIDS drugs in low- and middle-income countries. The biggest increase was in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 3 million people are now on the drugs.

Overall, about 44 percent of people with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa who need AIDS drugs are now taking them. In the U.S., about 71 percent of patients in need got AIDS drugs, according to 2003 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of course, they aren't perfectly reliable since they rely on countries self-reporting.

HIV-prevention is still needed:

Guerma said the number of people who need AIDS drugs might double by the end of the year because WHO is considering revising its treatment guidelines. Several studies have suggested that AIDS patients could live longer if they started taking drugs sooner.[...]

Experts warned it would be challenging to continue financing AIDS programs, given the global financial crisis. And since patients must take AIDS drugs for the rest of their lives, the cost of treatment programs will continue to increase, particularly when drug resistance develops and more expensive drugs are needed.

"The fact that WHO has come closer to meeting its target of universal AIDS treatment is certainly a good public relations coup," said Philip Stevens, a director at International Policy Network, a London-based think tank. "Whether or not this is sustainable as billions more dollars are needed in the future is an entirely different question."

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