More People Than Ever Before on ART; Cost of Treatment Continues to Decline
Domestic spending on AIDS is rising
Global Fund releases latest results
Three reports issued to coincide with the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. (22-27 July) contain good news for those fighting the epidemic. In addition, Spain has announced its 2012 contribution to the Global Fund.
In a report prepared for the conference, UNAIDS said eight million people received antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low- and middle-income countries in 2011, up 20% from 6.6 million people in 2010. If this momentum is maintained, UNAIDS said, the world will be close to reaching the target of having 15 million people on ART by 2015, as set out in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS.
UNAIDS said that the cost of ART has dropped from $10,000 per person in 2000 to less than $100 per person in 2011 for the least expensive regimen recommended by the World Health Organization.
UNAIDS reported that global spending on HIV in 2011 was $16.8 billion, up 11% from 2010. For the first time, more than half of this spending came from domestic sources. Low- and middle-income countries invested $8.6 billion, while funding from donor nations and international organisations remained flat, roughly at 2008 levels. UNAIDS said that to treat everyone in need and to offer effective prevention interventions more widely, additional investments of $7.2 billion per year are required by 2015.
Clinton Health Access Initiative
Meanwhile, in an article in The Guardian on 20 July, Sarah Boseley said a report about to be published by the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) shows that the total cost of treatment in health facilities (including drugs, lab tests, health workers' salaries and other overheads) comes to an average of $200 per HIV patient per year in Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda - all countries classified as low income - and Zambia (lower-middle income). Until now, Ms Boseley wrote, the generally accepted total cost of treating a patient for a year was estimated to be $880, based on a study released at the last International AIDS Conference two years ago in Vienna, Austria.
Ms Boseley quoted Bernhard Schwartländer, director of strategy at UNAIDS, as saying that the study by CHAI should lead to new optimism. Mr Schwartländer said that even if one assumed a cost of $300 a patient a year, the bill to put 20 million people on HIV treatment would be $6 billion a year. "It is not outrageous. It can really be handled."
In a press release issued on 23 July, the Global Fund said that as of 30 June 2012, 8.7 million lives have been saved by programmes supported by the Global Fund. This is a 34% increase over the estimate of lives saved at the end of 2010 (6.5 million). The Fund said that antiretroviral treatment (ART) is now being provided to 3.6 million people through Fund-supported programmes, an increase of 20% since the end of 2010.
The Global Fund announced the following additional results for Fund-supported programmes for the period ending 30 June 2012 (the change compared to end 2010 is shown in parentheses):
- 1.5 million pregnant women living with HIV have received a complete course of ART (up 50% from 1.0 million).
- 210 million HIV testing and counselling sessions have been provided (up 43% from 147 million).
- 260 million cases of malaria have been treated (up 53% from 170 million).
- 270 million insecticide-treated bed nets have been distributed (up 75% from 155 million).
- 9.3 million smear-positive cases of TB have been treated (up 21% from 7.7 million).
Spain has announced that it will contribute €10 million to the Global Fund for 2012. While the amount is lower than what Spain pledged and contributed in previous years, this is being seen by activists and other observers as a positive development given Spain's current economic situation.