We would commend Mike Youle and his colleagues' argument for a new approach to the provision of cost effective therapy for people with HIV ('Perfect combination', features, page 26, 7 October).

But their analysis of the factors regarding regional inequalities in the funding of antiretroviral therapies is incomplete. Although the Department of Health has acknowledged that some regions, such as Trent and North West, receive less than half the national average allocation per HIV-positive person, it has failed to meet its own target of April 1999 to begin addressing these funding inequalities.

Indeed, on current indications it seems unlikely to act on the recommendations of the DoH's HIV treatment and care stocktake in time to influence the funding for April 2000.Such delay will perpetuate the severe difficulties many health authorities face in supporting antiretroviral therapy.

Rod Thompson Chair Mark Bellis Chair of public health sector Liverpool John Moores University