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ART coverage for HIV patients on increase

The proportion of eligible HIV/AIDS patients taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low- and middle-income countries has increased from 10 per cent to 50 per cent during the last 10 years

The proportion of eligible HIV/AIDS patients taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low- and middle-income countries has increased from 10 per cent to 50 per cent during the last 10 years.

The figures were published in the report 'Evidence on Access to Essential Medicines for the Treatment of HIV/AIDS', funded by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), which found political commitment was the biggest driver in increasing treatment access.

Political drive at an international level had enabled an increase in the available resources in low- and middle-income countries from $1.6bn in 2001 to just under $16bn in 2010, according to the study. Countries analysed for the report were Botswana, Brazil, India, Mexico, Rwanda, South Africa and Thailand, all of which used a variety of different mechanisms to improve access to treatment.

Influencing national policy was also an important process to help develop better care for HIV/AIDS patients, with potential results including better domestic health system infrastructure; extra funding; overcoming stigma through patient education; and establishing health partnership initiatives with international foundations and the pharmaceutical industry.

Eduardo Pisani, director general of IFPMA, commented that despite the improved access to ART, there was still a long way to go, and future successes depended on a "holistic" approach involving governments, patients, organisations and the pharmaceutical industry.

He said: "Going forward it is clear that a global effort from a wide range of stakeholders is a necessary prerequisite for investing in broadly based HIV/AIDS strategies for prevention, diagnosis and treatment."

The paper is available from the IFPMA (pdf download).

5th October 2011

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