Report by the WHO on HIV/AIDS, March 2006

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Despite gains in overall numbers on treatment, ART access in low- and middle-income countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa was lower than in other regions.

A new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) shows that the number of people on HIV antiretroviral treatment (ART) in low- and middle-income countries have tripled to more than 1.3 million in December 2005 from 400, 000 in December 2003.

In July 2005, the G8 nations endorsed a goal of working with WHO and UNAID to develop an essential package of HIV prevention, treatment and care with the aim of moving as close as possible to universal access to treatment by 2010.

Between end-2003 and 2005, HIV treatment access expanded in every region of the world. Sub-Saharan Africa and East, South and Southeast Asia, the regions most heavily affected by the epidemic, achieved the most rapid and sustained progress.

 More than 810, 000 people in sub-Saharan Africa, or 17% of those in need of ART, had accessed treatment by the end of 2005. Well over half the people on ART in the developing world live in this region. This substantial increase in ART availability in sub-Saharan Africa occurred despite considerable regional challenges.

 East, South and Southeast Asia recorded significant gains in ART access from end-2003 (70, 000 people) to 2005 (180, 000 people), with coverage in the region expanding more than 75% in 2005. Thailand was a major driver of this increase, particularly during 2004 and the first half of 2005.

 Latin America and the Caribbean, with more than 315 000 people on ART (up from 210 000 at the end of 2003), is providing treatment to approximately 68% of its population in need

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