Antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage among all age groups
As of December 2011, an estimated 8 million people in low- and middle-income countries were receiving antiretroviral therapy. This represented an increase of 1.4 million people, or 21%, over the number receiving such treatment 12 months earlier. In the WHO African Region, 57% [53%–60%] of people eligible for treatment were able to access life-saving medicines in 2011. Similarly, 68% [59%–78%] in the Region of the Americas, 10% [8%–14%] in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, 26% [22%–33%] in the European Region, 46% [42%–61%] in the South-East Asia Region and 48% [42%–56%] in the Western Pacific Region were accessing such treatment. The increase in the number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy in 2011 was between 20 and 35% in the African, Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asian and the Western Pacific Region. Only in the European Region (12%) and the Region of the Americas (11%), was the rate of increase in access in 2011 significantly lower.
At the end of 2011, 11 low- and middle-income countries, including five countries with generalized epidemics (Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Swaziland and Zambia), and six countries with low- and concentrated epidemics (Cambodia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Guyana and Mexico), had already achieved universal access to antiretroviral therapy, commonly understood as providing antiretroviral therapy to at least 80% of the people who need it. Croatia and Slovakia were also on the list last year, but are now classified as high-income and are no longer included in the list.
Overall antiretroviral therapy coverage among children was lower than among adults in low- and middle-income countries. Children represented 7% of the people receiving antiretroviral therapy and 13% of the people who needed it. Of the 2 000 000 [1 800 000–2 300 000] children estimated to need antiretroviral therapy, only 28% [25–31%] had access to treatment versus 58% of adults [56–62%].
ART coverage has increased rapidly since 2003 from just 400 000 to 8 million by the end of 2011. The estimated ART coverage in low- and middle-income countries increased from 47% in 2010 to 54% in 2011. The greatest increase occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, where ART was uncommon up to 2003 (100 000 people on ART) and increased over 60-fold to 6.2 million in 2011. Regions that have made less progress are those in which the epidemic is predominantly concentrated in populations with lower access and utilization of services, such as sex workers, injecting drug users, and men who have sex with men.