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International News

Fight AIDS at a Store Near You

June 5, 2006

According to UN estimates, roughly three times the $8.3 billion spent last year on HIV/AIDS in needy countries will be needed to fight the disease in 2010.

"Millions will be on antiretroviral drugs until death," Richard G.A. Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, told delegates at the 2006 UN High Level Meeting on AIDS in New York. "This is a moral commitment between the wealthy and the non-wealthy that we have to maintain."

The Global Fund has raised $8.9 billion and helped finance 386 programs in 130 countries since it was created after the first UN General Assembly on AIDS five years ago. It needs $900 million more for its sixth round of five-year grants, which will be made in November.

The fund recently inaugurated a program to expand its donor pool beyond governments and foundations. Under Project Red, the Global Fund licenses the right to sell red-branded items to certain companies; roughly 40 percent of the gross margin from sales will go to the fund, though the exact terms are secret.

Giorgio Armani, Converse, Gap, American Express and Motorola are participating in the project, with items on sale only in Britain. In the last two months, sales of Project Red products have raised $10 million.

"If this model replicates and jumps to the U.S. and other markets, there is the potential to raise hundreds of millions of dollars," said Jon Liden, a spokesperson for the Global Fund.

France will begin levying a surcharge on airline tickets starting in July, with proceeds going to an "international drug purchasing facility," which will broker the sale of cut-rate pediatric AIDS drugs and combinations of malaria medicines. Norway, Brazil and Chile are expected to follow suit soon.

Another strategy being considered is "debt conversion." Western lenders would forgive poor countries' debts if they agree to pay the money to the Global Fund or a similar entity, with funds earmarked for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.

Back to other news for June 5, 2006

Adapted from:
Washington Post
06.02.06; David Brown

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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