HIV/AIDS: Does the world need more AIDS targets?

“Zero new infections” target means prevention education programs like the GSC program should receive more attention.

Progress on universal access has been patchy. Photo: ttfnrob/Flickr

[www.irinnews.org]

JOHANNESBURG, 1 December 2010 (PlusNews) – With just a month to go before the deadline for achieving the targets of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care expires, it is clear very few countries will reach them.

What is less certain is whether such ambitious goals have positively affected global HIV/AIDS efforts.

The dream of universal access emerged in 2005 when G8 leaders committed to achieving “as close as possible to universal access to treatment for all those who need it by 2010”. At the 2006 UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS, world leaders expanded their commitment to include universal access to prevention, care and support and agreed to set national targets by the end of that year.

The targets were adopted just as the UNAIDS/World Health Organization (WHO) “3 by 5” initiative to provide three million people living with HIV/AIDS in low- and middle-income countries with antiretroviral treatment (ART) by the end of 2005 came to an end.
Five years later, sub-Saharan African countries, with the largest share of global HIV infections, have progressed towards universal access (defined as coverage of at least 80 percent of the population in need) with varying degrees of urgency and success.

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