The World Health Organization released its "3 by 5" progress report on January 26, 2005, at the Davos World Economic Forum congratulating itself on progress made in the drive to fight the HIV pandemic. But only 700,000 or 12% of the nearly six million people in need of antiretroviral treatment in developing countries have access to it today.
Looking at these figures Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), who provides ARV treatment to more than 25,000 patients in 27 countries, comes to the exact opposite conclusion.
Instead of celebrating, WHO, UNAIDS, the Global Fund, the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other institutions should be sounding the alarm.
Every day, more than 8,000 people die from AIDS and every year another five million become infected with HIV. Since July 2004, only 260,000 new patients have benefited from ARV therapy in developing countries. Treatment expansion is moving at a snail's pace. From the perspective of a medical humanitarian organisation working in resource-poor countries to treat people with AIDS, the global picture is bleak.
Unless pressing issues are addressed urgently, many of those living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries will never get access to life-saving treatment or may not be able to survive once on treatment over the long-term.