UN-backed Global Fund lauds rich nations’ pledge on universal AIDS treatment
The United Nations-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria today welcomed the recommitment of the “Group of Eight” leading industrialized nations to universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment.
The endorsement by G8 leaders of $6 billion to $8 billion per year for the Global Fund, a three-fold increase from the current level as part of their recommitment to universal access to treatment is “very good news,” said Dr. Michel Kazatchkine, the Fund’s Executive Director.
The main UN agency dealing with AIDS had called on the leaders attending three-day summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, to step up their response to the disease.
In a statement released in advance of the summit, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS had warned that in 2006, resources available for AIDS fell “dramatically short of the estimated needs by $6 billion.”
It also cautioned that the 11 million people projected to need antiretroviral treatment by 2010 “may be underestimated by up to 50 per cent.”
As such, UNAIDS urged the leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States to translate their previous commitments on AIDS – including their 2005 pledge to provide $60 billion to fight HIV and other illnesses in Africa – into tangible action.
“AIDS must be a top priority for the G8 this year and every year – in commitments and action,” the agency said.
Set up in 2002 on the initiative of then Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Global Fund is a public-private partnership that has committed $7.6 billion so far to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in 136 countries. The three diseases kill more than 6 million people a year, and that number is growing.