Ethiopia has begun implementing a plan to provide free antiretroviral drugs to all HIV-positive people in the country who need them by 2010, reports Presse (AFP) (, 1/17).

The country has offered HIV drugs for free since 2005, but not everyone who has needed them has been able to access them.

“One hundred percent of the people in need will have free access to treatment by 2010,” said Meskele Lera, deputy director of the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office. “It is an ambitious target, but a necessary one.”

Lera said the plan would also promote wider use of condoms and increased HIV testing. According to AFP, the Ethiopian government estimates about 1.5 million people in the country are HIV positive, while the World Health Organization reports that number is closer to 2.8 million.