Some health care organizations and some world governments spend a considerable amount of resources to ensure that most HIV/AIDS patients have access to vital treatment. Unfortunately, there is still quite a long way to go before the aforementioned countries and organizations can realize the goal of universal medicine access for HIV/AIDS affected individuals. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the current global coverage for HIV/AIDS treatment stands at 54%. In view of this, WHO and UNICEF extended the deadline for the attainment of global access HIV/AIDS medicine from 2010 to 2015. To meet this, it is crucial for world governments to recognize and address the factors that currently impede the attainment of universal HIV/AIDS treatment including the following:
In spite of the best interests of governments seeking to ensure that all HIV/AIDS patients get access to the necessary medication, there are patients who cannot afford most of the antiretroviral drugs and other medication they require due to poverty. Poverty may also make it impossible for some individuals to access HIV testing facilities. This is because; poor people cannot afford most basic needs such as education and this may make them ignorant to HIV prevention, testing and treatment information. In response to this challenge, some countries and healthcare organizations provide free HIV/AIDS testing, counseling and treatment.
Discrimination and Stigma
These are one of the greatest barriers to medicine access to HIV affected individuals. Some societies have norms, values and beliefs that make it difficult for individuals to seek HIV testing and treatment services. For instance, in societies where discussing sexuality issues openly is a taboo or in communities that out rightly discriminate against individuals who use drugs or practice homosexuality, people are often too ashamed to be undergo HIV testing or seek treatment if they discover that they have HIV for fear of social stigma.
In some cases, both government and nongovernmental organizations alike may be unable to fulfill their mandate to provide access to HIV/AIDS treatment. This may occur due to factors such as bureaucracy, lack of financial and/or human resources, poor healthcare policies and lack of good leadership.
In some cases, HIV/ AIDS patients may not be able to access the treatment they require due to factors such as mistrust of medical care practitioners, lack of proper documentation or weakness/fatigue due to the impact of HIV/AIDS on their health. In such cases, even if governments up healthcare provision structures and facilities needed to promote delivery of treatment services to individuals affected by HIV/AIDS, some patients put up individual barriers to avoid using these facilities. However, with proper patient education, it is possible to change the attitudes of patients and encourage them to seek medical treatment.
According to the World Health Organization, HIV/AIDS is a major challenge to universal health. In order to reduce the number of new infections and mortality rate of HIV/AIDS, it is vital for all world governments to demonstrate their commitment to the goal of universal healthcare access for HIV/AIDS patients. To do this, they must address factors such as stigma, poverty, illiteracy and poor health policies that affect the attainment of this goal.
Dr. Mitchell Franco is an expert on healthcare policy. He has written various articles in health magazines and journals on HIV issues such as medicine access for HIV/AIDS. Some of his articles also cover maternal and child health issues.