AIDS Fight Hits Hurdle Over Funding
June 1, 2011
Approaching June's UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, public health administrators are assessing new data indicating the epidemic is controllable with greater spending, even as they confront the reality that global contributions to fight the disease are falling.
The meeting is tasked with plotting how to combat HIV/AIDS through 2015. However, a major conflict exists regarding establishing goals for placing more of the world's 33 million HIV-positive people on AIDS drugs. According to Jennifer Kates, director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, no such goal is attainable without identifying new resources for supplying medication for more people.
Kates notes figures are still being analyzed, but that "a major factor" in the donation decline is the sagging global economy. Ironically, earlier this month, research backed by the National Institutes of Health showed that antiretrovirals, in addition to their other health benefits, make HIV patients 96 percent less likely to spread the virus to their heterosexual partners.
According to AIDS specialists, marrying "treatment as prevention" with other measures may halt the progress of the virus, which presently infects 2.5 million more people annually. UNAIDS and Kaiser approximate 5.2 million people were being treated at the close of 2009 for $15.9 billion. Treating 10 million more would require $7.5 billion more, they said. Other AIDS specialists, accounting for more efficiently delivered care, put the additional sum at $6 billion.
Kaiser also observed that US contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria have remained flat since 2009, The Obama administration, however, has proposed a 4.5 percent increase for 2012 based on the new data. US Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby said the new data should "challenge the way we are doing business."
Wall Street Journal
05.27.2011; Betsy McKay, Mark Schoofs
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