Time Examines How Funding Cuts to Romania by International Donors Could Reverse the Country's Gains in HIV Fight
September 13, 2010
Time reports on how the recent withdrawal of funds for Romania's HIV programs by international donors could threaten the country's efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. "According to UNAIDS, since 2001, HIV prevalence in the [Eastern Europe and Central Asia] region has risen by 66% to include 1.5 million people. ... The problem, experts say, is lack of funding for HIV prevention and of political will to work with stigmatized groups." The article examines how in Romania, NGOs have worked for a decade to offer HIV prevention programs, such as needle-exchange programs, to vulnerable populations in the country, and the impacts such efforts have had on HIV rates among IDUs, which stand at "just 1% -- the lowest in Eastern Europe."
However, "nearly four years after Romania joined the European Union, the World Bank no longer classifies Romania as a developing country, making it ineligible for a number of international grants" -- the major funding source for the HIV prevention programs operated by the NGOs in Romania. "Since June, UNICEF, the Open Society Institute and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have all withdrawn funding for the country's HIV programs."
Experts warn that without funding for HIV prevention "Romania's HIV problem could get very serious, very fast," the magazine writes. "That has consequences for the rest of Europe too. Freedom of movement within the E.U. makes it easier for disease to spread; what's more, in 2008 Romania surpassed Russia to become the largest supplier of migrant sex workers to the E.U."
The article includes comments by NGOs and other HIV advocates on the ground as well as the country coordinator for UNAIDS (Adams, 9/20).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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