Global Financial Crisis Could Harm HIV/AIDS Funding, Piot Says
October 29, 2008
The current global financial crisis could harm HIV/AIDS funding and increase the factors that make people vulnerable to the disease, UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said on Tuesday during an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, CQ HealthBeat reports. According to Piot, as rising food and energy costs drive more people into poverty worldwide, the factors that drive the spread of HIV also could increase. "That must have an impact on the spread of HIV, although it's not so clear," he said, adding that it is certain that low-income countries will be more affected by and vulnerable to the financial crisis when it comes to providing HIV/AIDS treatment. For example, 100% of the cost to provide 50,000 HIV-positive people in Rwanda with antiretroviral drugs at the end of last year was paid by donors -- such as the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief -- according to Piot. He added that Brazil receives no donor funding to provide similar treatment services to its HIV-positive citizens.
Jennifer Kates -- vice president and director of HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation -- said it is difficult to assess how the financial crisis will affect future funding levels. "How the financial crisis plays into that, we still don't know," she said.
Piot will leave his position at UNAIDS at the end of the year to head the new Institute for Global Health at Imperial College London (Vadala, CQ HealthBeat, 10/28).
A kaisernetwork.org webcast of the event is available online.
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.