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WHO announces plans to treat 3 million HIV-positive people

WHO announces plans to treat 3 million HIV-positive people

The World Health Organization this week released the first details of its plan to provide anti-HIV drugs to 3 million people worldwide by 2005, The Washington Post reports. The agency's strategy will be to use rapid-response techniques to deliver the medications to hard-hit areas and to provide emergency-response teams to governments requesting assistance in establishing treatment programs. WHO also is expected to soon release a list of first-line medications it will provide to developing countries. The list will likely include a three-drug anti-HIV pill that includes generic versions of patented anti-HIV medications. Health experts say this single-pill treatment approach is easy to use and affordable, makes medication adherence much easier, and could be used to effectively treat about 80% of the 3 million HIV patients WHO hopes to reach. It's unclear whether pharmaceutical companies will challenge WHO's plans to buy and distribute generic versions of their patented anti-HIV medications, WHO officials say.

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