Report Looks At HIV/AIDS Funding In Developing Countries

“A global pullback on commitments to fund and fight AIDS is resulting in restrictions on the number of people being enrolled into treatment programmes, more frequent drug shortages, and reduced national AIDS budgets,” according to a report (.pdf) released Monday by the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), BMJ News reports.

The report documents the progress in providing access to HIV/AIDS treatment in the countries of India, Kenya, Latvia, Malawi, Swaziland and Venezuela, and challenges the countries face in their ability to increase and sustain treatment programs, the journal writes (Roehr, 4/26). The report “found patients are being turned away from treatment programmes and AIDS drug stocks are running out because of government budget cuts and flatlined funding from major donors like the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” Reuters writes. In February, the Obama administration’s FY 2011 budget request included a 2.2 percent increase for PEPFAR.

In a foreword to the ITPC report, Peter Mugyenyi, head of the Joint Clinical Research Center in Kampala, Uganda, who in March testified before a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, wrote: “For the first time since 2004, some HIV-positive men and women who are in need of life-saving antiretroviral treatment are being turned away because of funding cuts” (Kelland, 4/26).

“Governments, North and South, cannot afford to put the clock back and return us to the days when HIV was a death sentence,” Aditi Sharma, coordinator of the report, said in an ITPC press release (.pdf) (4/26).

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