Meeting the challenge: hope for the future
The 3 by 5 initiative presents a tremendous challenge to the health systems of countries with a high burden of HIV/AIDS, given the magnitude and urgency of the changes that will be initiated against a background of chronic incapacity and under-performance. An inspiring vision exists, based on the work of the treatment pioneers, of how health service and community resources can be combined in comprehensive prevention, treatment and care programmes, even in resource-poor settings. It must be hoped that this inspiration will reignite the determination of governments and people all over the world to invest sufficiently in health systems so that they can reverse the course of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. By doing so, strengthened health systems will gain the capacity to confront successfully the ancient enemy of infectious disease and the growing burden of chronic diseases.