In an effort to promote awareness and action, the World Health
Organization, UNAIDS and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and
Malaria have joined in a campaign to bring AIDS drugs to those
in the poorest nations. Called the "3 x 5" campaign,
the program aims to provide anti-retroviral treatment to 3 million
people with AIDS by the end of 2005.
"The lives of millions of people are at stake. This strategy
demands massive and unconventional efforts to make sure they stay
alive," said World Health Organization Director-General Dr.
drugs, which block the action of viruses like HIV, are the most
effective manner to treat HIV/AIDS and the only way to transform
HIV from a death sentence to a chronic but stable illness. Patients
taking the latest combination treatments can survive at least
Although widely available in the developed world, the drugs are
expensive and difficult to distribute among patients in the poorest
nations of the world.
Only 75, 000 of HIV-infected Africans are receiving the treatments
- out of the 4 million who need them.
"That is really not acceptable and we have no chance of
halting this epidemic if we're not going to make sure that everybody
who needs it has access to treatment," Piot said.
However, many of the largest drug companies have said that lowering
the price of their products would limit the research necessary
to develop new drugs, and perhaps someday, a cure.
World leaders in various parts of the world are recognizing World
AIDS Day in ways both expected and unexpected. Chinese Premier
Wen Jiabao visited people with AIDS in a Beijing hospital - something
no other Chinese political leader has done. In
Saudi Arabia the government unexpectedly admitted that there are
nearly 7,000 AIDS cases and that they would initiate a campaign
to combat the disease. Marches and rallies are being held in India,
Cambodia, Turkey and Portugal, as well as other countries.
Private, governmental and community organizations across the
United States have sponsored events to generate awareness about
HIV prevention, treatment and living with HIV/AIDS.
Annie Schleicher, Online NewsHour