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Monday 25th June 2018

Warning over global AIDS funding

12th October 2010

Health experts have warned tht more money will be needed to control the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which is likely to cost between US$397 billion and US$733 billion over the next 20 years.

hiv virus

A report by the aids2031 financing group, headed by the Results for Development Institute in Washington DC, said that infections could rise from 2.3 million today, to 3.2 million by 2031.

Publishing its report in The Lancet, the group said that donors and governments were increasingly unlikely in the current economic crisis to fund a rapid increase in prevention and treatment services by the Millennium Development Goal deadline of 2015.

The group said increased funding could prevent about 7 million more deaths and 14.2 million infections than if efforts continue on the same level as today.

The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, and Pepfar, the US president's emergency plan for AIDS relief, are the two biggest sources of funding for AIDS prevention and treatment in developing countries.

The Global Fund received pledges of just US$11.7 billion recently in New York that fell short of the US$13 billion target it needed to fund current programmes alone.

But aids2031 said there were also more efficient ways of using existing funds.

It said countries like China, India and the Ukraine, where the epidemics were less intense, and where incomes were higher, could potentially fund their own battle against HIV.

This would free up more money to be used in poorer countries, the report said.

Study lead author Robert Hecht said there was a long, hard road ahead in the fight to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS.

But he said the next couple of years would provide a window of opportunity when countries could make decisions that could result in more lives saved and infections prevented.

He said governments needed to spend the available money extremely well and squeeze the greatest possible value from it.

The report recommended using effective prevention techniques like circumcision, as well as buying lower cost drugs and campaigning to change people's behaviour.

It singled out the poorest countries, like Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda, as having the most cause for concern, as they had a high burden of disease and low income.

South Africa had a middle-level income and a high disease burden, while China had a middle income and a relatively low burden of disease.

The report said the poorest countries were likely to spend 3-6% of their GDP on HIV/AIDS.

But it said that even under the best possible circumstances, 1.2 million people would still become infected in 2031, 50 years after the disease was first recognised.

It concluded that, in the absence of a technological breakthrough such as a vaccine, HIV would continue to spread.

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