SOUTH AFRICAN AIDS TREATMENT DISAPPOINTS

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Following a series of grim statistics in recent months, a new UN/WHO report has confirmed that South Africa's AIDS programme is failing to deliver adequate life-saving treatment. According to the survey, the government continues to "drag its feet" on rolling out ARV treatment to sufferers.

The results have obliged the WHO to apologise for failing to meet its global target of 3mn new patients receiving treatment by year-end 2005. Officials noted that South Africa's epidemic has progressed with "astonishing speed," while the country's HIV infection rate has soared from just 1% to 25% since 1990.

For its part, the country's health department attributes much of the poor performance -- which has seen 85% of infected South Africans denied effective treatment - to a reluctance to address the problem prior to 1994.