"3 by 5" Progress report, December 2004

Released at 11 GMT 26 January 2005

On World AIDS Day 2003, WHO and UNAIDS set an ambitious target that 3 million people living with HIV/AIDS in developing and transitional countries would be receiving antiretroviral therapy by 2005. This “3 by 5” target was received with understandable scepticism.

It was a necessary risk.

Based on the right to treatment and building on years of work by governments, donors, and civil society, “3 by 5” aims to help infuse hope and energy into communities that have been largely immobilized by the devastating toll of the epidemic. Further, we were convinced that the entire United Nations System, and especially WHO, could do much more to help countries provide treatment to the poorest, most affected communities.

As we present our second progress report, we are witnessing incredible synergy arising from strategic partnerships across a variety of sectors. The global effort to achieve “3 by 5” is gaining momentum and has clearly shifted from vision to reality.

Progress in the second half of 2004 has been dramatic, reaching the December milestone of 700 000 people receiving antiretroviral therapy. A remarkable international movement has now gathered behind the “3 by 5” target. Most importantly, many countries have shown leadership by increasing their own political and financial commitments, mobilizing human resources and effectively engaging partners to scale up treatment. It is clear that the success of “3 by 5” will ultimately depend on continued strong commitment and follow-through by governments.

Partnerships have become one of the main engines of HIV/AIDS treatment scale-up. At the country level, unprecedented responses are being made by both the public and private sectors, caregivers, activists, faith-based communities and the mass media. Internationally, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the World Bank, the Clinton Foundation, Médecins Sans Frontières and many other partners have all played a critical role.

We are also pleased to report that initial data show that adherence and treatment success rates in developing countries are similar to if not higher than those obtained in affluent, industrialized countries. As the health of people living with HIV/AIDS improves with treatment, we are beginning to see the rejuvenating impact on families, communities and economies. As access to treatment increases, more opportunities emerge to promote prevention. Only through effective prevention services will treatment be sustainable.

As this report reflects, many real challenges must still be overcome, but they are not insurmountable. With billions of dollars available, a surge of political will and a groundswell of public demand for antiretroviral therapy, the “3 by 5” target can play a critical role in focusing attention and galvanizing action. A sustained commitment to the well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS is crucial if we are to meet and exceed the target of 3 million together.

LEE Jong-wook
World Health Organization

Peter Piot
Executive Director
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

(This is the final version of the web page. Published: 15:56 CET 26 January 2005)