A bit of decent news on the HIV/ AIDS treatment front. More people are getting the treatment they require. Still, there are those left without treatment options and the number of those treated is still being outpaced by the numbers infected. From the BBC:
The number of people on antiretrovirals had risen by 1m by the end of 2007, a 36% increase from the previous year, the World Health Organisation reports.
But despite the progress, less than half of those needing treatment get it.
The majority of pregnant women still go untreated, and their infants are infected via "vertical transmission".
Nevertheless testing of pregnant women is continuing to rise in line with rates overall.
Testing is the gateway to treatment, and in many areas facilities providing this service increased by about 35%, noted the Towards Universal Access report which looked at 158 countries.
Drug prices have also fallen by between 10% and 40% - the result of a combination of a factors, including greater co-operation by the pharmaceutical companies and the prevalence of generic drugs.
There is currently momentum behind the establishment of a patent pool, which would allow the creation of cheap copies of drugs and would be one way of getting newer and more effective second-line treatments into the developing world.
But by current reckoning, at least 5m people with HIV do not have access to even the most basic treatment.
The pace of new infections also continues to outstrip the number treated: for every one person being put on a therapy regime, three people contract the disease.
The report highlighted particular concerns about access to high risk groups, such as gay men and sex workers. It noted that as many as 6m drug users are infected worldwide, but less than 40% are reached by HIV prevention programmes.
An interesting read. Get the full scoop here.