UNAIDS Director Calls For G8 To Come Through On HIV/AIDS Funding Pledges

Michel Sidibe, the executive director of UNAIDS, voiced concerns that wealthy nations who previously pledged to help Africa stop the spread of HIV/AIDS during the G8 summit four years ago, might instead use funds to bolster their own ailing economies, Reuters reports. “Before this financial crisis, the world came together and this solidarity helped put more than 3.5 million people on treatment,” Sidibe told reporters during the African Union summit in Sirte, Libya. “I am very concerned because … the leaders of this world have the political obligation, or responsibility to really fix the market but they have also the moral obligation to not abandon those … people on treatment and not to break the hope of the 14 million (AIDS) orphans,” he said.

Reuters writes: “At the G8 summit in the Scottish town of Gleneagles in 2005, the world’s wealthiest industrialised democracies promised to provide universal access to anti-HIV drugs in Africa by 2010 – an undertaking costing billions of dollars,” yet “[e]ven before the global downturn, non-governmental groups that campaign on AIDS said the G8 states were not providing adequate funding to meet their target.”

As an example of funding shortcomings for international HIV/AIDS programs, Sidibe pointed out that Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is about “$4 billion short of the amount it needed to fund AIDS projects it was already running or had committed to financing,” according to Reuters (Lowe, 7/1).

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