November 30, 2011
"Global progress in both preventing and treating HIV emphasizes the benefits of sustaining investment in HIV/AIDS over the longer term," according to a new report from the WHO, UNICEF and UNAIDS, which also "indicates that increased access to HIV services resulted in a 15 percent reduction of new infections over the past decade and a 22 percent decline in AIDS-related deaths in the last five years," a WHO press release reports (11/30). The report, titled "Progress report 2011: Global HIV/AIDS response," notes that "[a]s capacity at all levels increases, programs are becoming more effective and efficient," but "financial pressures on both domestic and foreign assistance budgets are threatening the impressive progress to date. Recent data indicating that HIV funding is declining is a deeply troubling trend that must be reversed for the international community to meet its commitments on HIV" (11/30).
"With many large international donor countries struggling with recession and debt crises, [Director of the WHO HIV Department Gottfried] Hirnschall said it was crucial for countries affected by HIV/AIDS to do all they can to fund their own programs and make limited resources go further," Reuters writes, adding, "Hirnschall said donors should recognize that stepping up investment now will save lives, and more money in the long run" (Kelland, 11/30).