Antiretroviral treatment off target

AFRICA: Antiretroviral treatment off target

JOHANNESBURG, 12 Oct 2005 (PLUSNEWS) - With HIV/AIDS still rising and only 11 percent of the people who need antiretroviral (ARV) treatment able to access it, sub-Saharan Africa seems way off the World Health Organisation's (WHO) '3 by 5' target.

The '3 by 5' initiative aims to provide three million people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries with ARVs by the end of 2005.

Dr Olive Shisana, CEO of South Africa's Human Sciences Research Council, told delegates at the third Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance (SAHARA) conference in Dakar, Senegal, that the '3 by 5' initiative had not been more successful because of a generally low sense of urgency, and countries often did not have the capacity to absorb the increased resources available.

She drew on studies in various African countries to emphasise that gender equality was key in containing the spread of the virus, and that "women's subordination to men contributes to higher infection rates among women".

Shisana also warned that risky sexual behaviour, especially among young men, was not changing quickly enough to reverse the rate of new HIV infections, the Health24 news service reported on Tuesday.


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