Australia: World on Cusp of Beating AIDS Says Expert
July 23, 2007
In countries where HIV/AIDS patients receive treatment, dying from the disease is fading as the primary threat, an AIDS expert said in opening remarks Sunday at the 4th International AIDS Society Conference in Sydney. However, treatment in developing countries must be provided to expand that horizon, said Dr. Michael Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
"I think we are done with the mortality of AIDS in treated people. Only five years ago hope was an abstract notion; now hope is a reality," Kazatchkine told the four-day conference.
Antiretroviral (ARV) drug provision has saved the lives of 2.2 million patients in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Russia, and Eastern Europe, said Kazatchkine. But much more money is needed if the more than 70 percent of patients in poorer nations who need ARVs are to receive them, he added.
"Don't tell me this is unaffordable," said Kazatchkine. By next year, the UN estimates $18 billion will be needed to fight the global pandemic, and $22 billion will be needed by 2010. Yet that is minuscule compared to the $2 trillion in new wealth produced globally each year, he said. "Yes, everyone needs to put more money on the table, but the message is we should be able to win the battle."
Kazatchkine said he would urge Australia's government to triple its HIV/AIDS funding commitments. At US $38 million a year, the country's contributions to the Global Fund are falling behind those of other Western nations. Australia gives 0.3 percent of gross national product for aid, compared to the UN-endorsed goal of allocating 0.7 percent of nations' GNP to foreign aid.
Sydney Morning Herald
7.23.2007; Louise Williams
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.