UK charity urges donor govts to honour HIV commitments

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - With 10 million people worldwide in desperate need to access vital treatment for HIV, donor governments should maintain their commitments to the fight against the virus, an international charity Christian Aid said Wednesday in commemoration of World AIDS Day.

''This year's World AIDS Day represents a critical milestone in international governments' responses towards fighting the ongoing
global HIV epidemic,'' said the organisation, recalling that December 2010 marks the G8 deadline for provision of universal access to
prevention, treatment, care and support for the 33.3 million people living with HIV worldwide.

The G8 set the deadline at the 2005 Millennium Summit, but to date approximately 10 million HIV-infected people desperately
need immediate treatment and are unable to access it.

Progress in expanding access to HIV treatment  has enabled more than five million people in low- and middle-income countries to
receive life-saving antiretroviral  (ARV) therapy, compared to just 500,000 in 2003, but new infections continue to outpace those
receiving treatment by two to one worldwide.

''This demonstrates that we cannot be complacent and must maintain a strong focus on HIV prevention, yet it is unclear how much money will now be channeled towards diseases of poverty such as HIV,'' said Nina O’Farrell, Christian Aid's head of HIV.

''Now is the time to beef up our response to HIV, not cut back. There is a very real danger that we could lose significant gains if funding for HIV is not maintained, or indeed scaled-up,"  she said.

According to Christian Aid, under the current financial climate, it is tempting for governments to reduce their spending on international development and focus their energies at home.

Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries.

The organisation said it had joined other UK civil society organisations in calling for the UK to commit its fair share of 840 million Pounds to the Global Fund for 2011-13.
-0- PANA AR/SEG 1Dec2010

01 december 2010 09:37:18

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