WHO, UN ARV PLAN FALLS SHORT OF GOAL

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A two-year campaign by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations' UNAIDS program has failed to reach its target of expanding antiretroviral (ARV) therapy to 3 million people in developing countries. However, the WHO's recently released report, "Progress on Global Access to HIV Antiretroviral Therapy," notes that the number of people receiving ARV treatment has tripled -- resulting in up to 350,000 fewer HIV-related deaths in the developing world last year.

The report cites the progress of the "3 by 5" plan -- expanding access to ARVs to 3 million people by 2005 -- and acknowledges that the amount of people treated is less than originally hoped. But the number of people receiving ARVs in developing countries, notes the report, has increased from 400,000 to 1.3 million since 2004. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number has grown from 100,000 to 810,000. But this still represents only 17 percent of people who require ARVs in the sub-Saharan region, according to the report. In particular, Mozambique is well below this average, with only 9 percent receiving treatment.

The report calls for further ARV research and funding by a target date of 2008 -- a goal that will likely cost an annual $22 billion.