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Antiretrovirals in the Developing World

I found this disturbing piece of information in the Annex to the recent UNAIDS report on the financial needs to scale up global efforts to combat the disease. This is the added years of life for people on antriretroviral drugs (ARVs):

The additional years lived with antiretroviral therapy are assumed to be four-to-six and six-to-nine years respectively in low- and middle-income countries.

I guess I thought that ARV’s would keep people alive for much longer (as I think they do here in the U.S.), but now it seems that the drugs might keep someone from dying at 35 instead of 30. Very depressing if this is something that cannot change any time soon.

In any case, it also appears the WHO’s 3 by 5 campaign to get 3 million people on ARV’s by the end of this year is way off target. A June 2005 report found that 1 million were on ARV’s, well short of the 1.6 million goal for middle of the year. So this is yet another goal that the international community has failed to achieve. Does this sort of target-setting serve a purpose? I suppose it provides an incentive to galvanize action, but it is tragic that the goal was unmet. However, as the report above notes, even as we prolong the lives of those suffering with AIDS with ARV’s for a moderate amount of additional time, we’ve got to prevent new cases from occurring.

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3 Responses to “Antiretrovirals in the Developing World”

  1. Is it tragic that the goal was unmet? I have thought for a while that it was fairly unrealistic, to be honest. it seems that tragedy might need to be based in a sense of reality.

    Any indication why the life extension is relatively short compared to the developed world HIV positive people?

    Also, wasn’t it odd that the UNAIDS report only compared numbers back to 2003, not any further?

  2. Maybe it was unreachable, but does this have any portents for how successful scaling up will be?

    Not sure why the life extension is so short. I would think maybe insufficient income means bad nutrition and hygiene so people succumb faster to the disease, despite ARVs.

    Which 2003 data were you referring to, financing needs or the number of people on ARVs?

  3. The 2003 data I referred to was the comparative references. For virtually any comparison of 2005 to the past, the chosen year was 2003. Why? They weren’t clear about the reasoning OR the methodology. I’m always a little suspicious at such intransparency–are they hiding something?