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Nature Examines How Funding Shortfalls Are Hindering Efforts To Use Drugs To Curb HIV Spread

Nature examines how funding shortfalls are hampering global efforts to use drugs to curb the spread of HIV, writing, “[A]t this week’s annual Conference on Retro­viruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, Washington, there was growing concern that financial austerity in the United States and elsewhere is eating away at the funding needed for a worldwide prevention effort.” The journal cites proposed reductions “to direct international aid for HIV programs under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)” in President Barack Obama’s FY 2013 budget request and an announcement by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria last November that it had cancelled Round 11 grants “until 2014 because of tightening budgets in donor countries.”

“The shortfalls come as a slew of results presented this week reinforce a growing consensus about the power of early treatment for HIV infections,” Nature writes, highlighting findings from two recent studies. The news service provides examples of how “[f]unding cuts are already eroding existing treatment programs [in Myanmar and the Democratic Republic of Congo], making any expansion unlikely” and notes that some researchers “are finding ways to make do with less” through “money-saving measures such as reducing checks on patients who are stable on their medication” (Hayden, 3/6).

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