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2005-07-08-Universal HIV/AIDS Treatment Access Would Keep Societies From Disintegrating Into Chaos
The international community is "beginning to respond" to the more than six million HIV-positive people in the developing world who need immediate antiretroviral treatment, "but we can and must do better," Jim Kim, director of the... World Health Organization's HIV/AIDS Programme, writes in a Bangkok Post opinion piece.
Although the number of people with access to HIV/AIDS treatment has more than tripled in Africa and Asia over the past year, most of the three million annual AIDS-related deaths could be prevented if universal treatment were provided, he says.
However, reaching that goal requires more support from political leaders, as well as the adoption of standardized, simplified, quality treatment approaches, Kim writes. In addition, WHO and other agencies "must do a better job" of training health care workers, procuring medications, and creating health infrastructure that can support treatment for HIV and other diseases, Kim says.
Universal HIV/AIDS care also depends upon greater financial resources, which countries must pledge on a long-term basis that encourages developing countries to match donor support by investing money into health care "knowing that AIDS treatment will not disappear when the international community takes up other priorities," he writes. Providing HIV/AIDS treatment to those in need would bring "renewed hope for the future" and "strengthe[n] the pillars that keep societies from disintegrating into chaos," Kim says (Kim, Bangkok Post, 7/4).