Significant progress in access to HIV/AIDS services in the European Region

Low- and middle-income countries, including some in the WHO European Region, have demonstrated that access to HIV/AIDS services can be increased, according to the new report, “Towards universal access: scaling up priority HIV/AIDS interventions in the health sectors”, released today.

The new report, by WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), reviews the progress made in 2009 in scaling up access to HIV/AIDS services.

Despite challenges there is steady progress in many areas, including access to services to prevent mother-to-child transmission and treatment for HIV-positive children. However, although more people were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 2009 than in 2008, coverage among low- and middle-income countries in Europe and central Asia remained critically low.

This is the fourth annual report for tracking progress made in achieving the 2010 target of providing universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care.

The report calls for action consistent with the key strategies proposed by a broad range of stakeholders for the new Global Health Sector Strategy for HIV/AIDS, 2011–2015. WHO is developing the Strategy to guide the next phase of the health sector response to HIV/AIDS. The strategy is expected to be discussed and ratified by the World Health Assembly in 2011. A European regional consultation on the strategy will be held in Copenhagen on Friday, 1 October.