Thursday, July 19, 2007

Treatment access activists accuse governments of missing targets

A report released today by the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition provides evidence that promises by G8 governments with regard to meeting certain HIV treatment access targets in the developing world by 2010 will be missed on current speed. The activist group charges that on 'the current rate of growth ... the world will fall short of even the most modest interpretation of the purposefully ambiguous new G8 treatment target and a full five million people short of achieving global universal access by 2010.' Check out their complete report here. Of course, while the group is absolutely correct in its harsh criticism, one should remain concerned about the continuing high profile of AIDS at the cost of other diseases affecting similarly large numbers of people in the developing world. An ethical response to this challenge would surely demand that diseases are prioritised based on the number of people affected and life-years lost (if the necessary resourcing is not taking place). It's no good, to my mind, that the activist group shouting loudest will be able to generate more resources for its constituents (or constituent disease) than diseases the victims of have no proper activist base capable of generating the necessary public pressure in terms of subsequent funding provided. None of this would necessarily mean that HIV/AIDS funding should be reduced, but HIV/AIDS funding should be proportionate to the probable life years lost in case no disease fighting resources are provided. Proportionate meaning that diseases causing a comparable number of life years lost/preserved than AIDS should be resourced equitably.

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