E. Guinea: 'More funds freed from lower HIV treatment costs'

Malabo, Equatorial Guinea (PANA) - Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Michel Sidibe has dismissed fears over possible drying up of HIV/AIDS funds, saying steps have been taken to reduce the global cost of treatment to free more resources for investments.

Sidibe said plans have been implemented across Africa to increase the number of people on HIV/AIDS treatment while also negotiating lower treatment costs.

"It is not really true that HIV/AIDS funding is drying up. We are mobilising more resources and we have freed resources for development by reducing the cost of drugs," Sidibe told PANA Friday on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

Treatment costs have been lowered from US$15 billion to just US$1.3 billion annually.

UNAIDS raised US$19 billion in 2013 to sustain the war against HIV/AIDS globally and said its fight against the pandemic is based on a three-point plan agreed jointly with the African Union.

The 23rd AU Summit is expected to approve a new plan, known as AIDS Watch Africa, to drive new policies to sustain the treatment of people living with HIV by examining domestic funding and local production of life saving drugs.

"AIDS Watch Africa is a fundamental investment to bring the governments to sustain this fight. The AU Heads of State will take up this Programme and translate it into action," Sidibe said.

Sidibe said the Programme was focused on ensuring that the 12 million people on HIV/AIDS treatment across Africa were sustained.

"We want to implement and sustain financing. We are not in direct completion with climate change even though climate is a mega-trend. We have been winning this war and we are determined to reduce the HIV/AIDS deaths," he said.

The UN official said if the fight was to be sustained, no one should be left behind in the current plans to boost treatment.
-0- PANA AO/SEG 27June2014

27 june 2014 13:47:31

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