In brief

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 04 December 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1304

WHO launches “3 by 5” strategy: The World Health Organization and UNAIDS (the joint UN programme on HIV and AIDS) this week launched their “3 by 5” strategy to treat three million people with AIDS by 2005. WHO also announced it is adding three new generic products for the first line treatment of AIDS to its list of drugs meeting its standards of quality, safety, and efficacy. The products are fixed dose, triple combinations containing lamivudine, stavudine, and nevirapine (8 November,p 1067).

India to provide free AIDS drugs to 100 000: India's health ministry has announced a new initiative to supply free antiretrovirals to 100 000 people infected with HIV from April next year. The drugs will be available in six states with high prevalence of HIV: Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Manipur, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.

Dutch government restricts abnormality test: Despite opposition from the medical profession the Dutch government is to retain a 36 year age limit for routine testing of pregnant women for Down's syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. Junior health minister Clémence Ross has rejected scientific advice that all pregnant women should be offered the triple blood test.

New patients' bodies begin work: Patient and public involvement forums took over from community health councils in monitoring and reviewing health services from the patient's perspective from 1 December. For more information see

E coli resistance rises: The European antimicrobial resistance surveillance system is warning of a worrying trend in the rise of resistant Escherichia coli. The system, which monitors data on several major pathogens from 700 laboratories in 28 countries, has seen a “marked and consistent” rise in fluoroquinolone resistance in E coli. The system's 2002 annual report is available at

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