Next week, on June 18-19 representatives of the world’s 20 major economies will meet at the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. As the delegates convene to discuss global economic issues, they should consider one global problem that is being ignored – that the War on AIDS has not been won.
In the wake of the global financial crisis many G20 countries have shifted their funding away from lifesaving AIDS treatment programs in the developing world. Currently, about 9 million people with HIV are at risk of dying because they cannot access lifesaving treatment. The severe problem of low treatment access is being exacerbated by the wavering commitment of wealthy countries to continue fighting AIDS.
On June 14, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and African Council of AIDS Service Organizations (AfriCASO) held a press conference in Mexico City, urging G20 countries to honor their previous commitments and fully fund the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
“There is no moral justification for retreating in this fight,” said at the press conference Dr. Jorge Saavedra, Co-chair of the Global Fund Reform Committee, the former Head of the Mexican National AIDS Program (CENSIDA) and currently serving as Global Ambassador for AHF. “Now, when HIV is no longer a death sentence and when treatment-as-prevention offers a path to global AIDS control, world leaders no longer deem ridding the world of this plague a worthy cause. They must remember that the war on AIDS is not confined to the geographic boundaries of a far-off country.”
Since the start of the recession a number of G20 donors have decreased their contributions to the Global Fund—which provides AIDS treatment to 3.3 million people—while others, including Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey have not contributed to the Fund at all. As of 2008, the combined contribution from the G20 has remained virtually flat at about $2.4 billion per year.
"We need a fully funded Global Fund to scale up life saving prevention and treatment programs. If the G20 countries contribute their fair share, this could be achieved,” -- Dr. Cheick Tidiane Tall
Dr. Tall is a Board Member of the Global Fund Developing Countries NGO Delegation and Executive Director of AfriCASO, an African network of AIDS service organizations based in Senegal.
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