Anti-HIV therapy refers to using a combination of anti-retroviral drugs to block viral replication, relieve HIV symptoms and delay the progression of the disease. This treatment has become so successful that researchers have observed dramatic decreases in morbidity and mortality in countries having access to it. The success of anti-HIV therapy has also caused quite a stir in regards to providing universal access to it.
The World Health Organization, WHO for short, announced in 2003 that they were going to provide antiretroviral drugs to three million people that live in low and middle-income countries by 2005. This was affectionately called the 3 by 5 target and was the first stepping stone of many to provide universal access to anti-HIV therapy. This goal was successful at introducing antiretroviral drugs to over a million people, but it was not accomplished until 2007. In 2006, WHO set another goal to implement universal access to anti-HIV therapy, including prevention, treatment, and care, by 2010. As the reports started coming out in 2008, it was clear that this goal was not going to be reached by 2010. edutoday24
Universal access to anti-HIV therapy does not mean that WHO intends to treat every person with HIV, but it is intended to be seen as a desire to move into the position of providing the most effective HIV treatments that are “equitable, accessible, affordable, comprehensive and sustainable over the long-term”, according to UNAIDS in 2009. Ninety nine countries are looking for 80 percent of treatment coverage, and have their own universal treatment goals. But low and medium-income countries are not following the WHO guidelines because they feel it’s too expensive to start treating people earlier. In actuality, the opposite is true and it will be less expensive in the long run to start treatments earlier because it will prevent more costly health complications in the future. These lower-income countries are not supporting universal access to anti-HIV therapy because they think they are saving money. edutoday24