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WHO unveils ARV treatment plan
Friday 5 November 2004
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GLOBAL: WHO unveils ARV treatment plan


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


NAIROBI, 1 December (PLUSNEWS) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday unveiled a concrete plan to treat three million AIDS patients with antiretrovirals by 2005 ("3 by 5").

Dr Jack Chow, WHO Assistant Director General, said the figure of three million, which was half the number of people who needed ARVs, was "a preliminary response" to the global health emergency.

"The ultimate goal is universal access," he told a news conference in Nairobi.

"We know from experience that the availability of treatment encourages people to declare their HIV status and receive counselling," said Dr Paulo Teixeira, Director of the HIV/AIDS Department in WHO. "We also know that the availability of treatment reduces stigma for people living with AIDS."

The "counter campaign" against the virus will focus on countries with the largest numbers of people living with HIV, and will be implemented by national governments, which are being assisted by "3 by 5" emergency teams to strengthen their health systems.

WHO is recommending that countries provide the drugs free of cost.

Kenya, Burkina Faso, Malawi and Zambia are all setting up national treatment delivery systems, according to targets set by the 3 by 5 strategy, and 30 other countries were expected to do likewise within next six months, Chow told reporters. Teams had done preparatory work in Ukraine, India and Sudan, working with governments to identify and help remove obstacles to providing the drugs.

A key component of the strategy is the training of tens of thousands of community health workers to treat and monitor patients.

"The centre of attention is the people who need the treatment urgently now and the national health systems that must provide it," said Chow.

Currently a year's supply of patented ARVs costs about US $700 per person, while generic versions cost US $270. Chow said prices of generics were expected to fall to US $150 by 2005.



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Recent GLOBAL Reports
International Women’s Day - Sexual Violence and HIV/AIDS vulnerability,  8/Mar/04
AIDS treatment must adapt to poor communities, says MSF,  27/Nov/03
WHO plans to get three million people on ARVs by 2005,  24/Sep/03
Onus on governments to organise ARV procurement - MSF,  23/Sep/03
Highest ethical standards needed in HIV/AIDS vaccine trials,  21/Sep/03
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