The AIDS treatment gap
The situation outlined above shows the devastating effects of the virus on the health of the world’s people. But the effects are not evenly felt, and are often concentrated in the very places where treatment is least likely to be available. Overall, coverage with antiretroviral drugs is extremely low. In 2003, the estimated number of people worldwide needing treatment because they were in advanced stages of infection was nearly 6 million, although the numbers must be interpreted cautiously and the uncertainty range is large (4–8 million).
In 2003, about 400 000 people received treatment. Coverage is lowest in the African Region, where the burden is highest and only an estimated 100 000 people are receiving treatment: a coverage of 2%. Some 34 countries accounted for more than 90% of the number of adults in need of treatment in 2003. South Africa accounts for almost one in six people in need of treatment. Half of the global treatment needs are located in just seven countries: India and six countries in the WHO African Region.