UN chief says funding threatens fight against HIV/AIDS

New York- US (PANA) -- The international community risks losing the global battle against HIV/AIDS, unless funding for projects to stem the spread of the disease and keep those infected healthy is sustained and increased, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned.
"In our global war on AIDS, the international community is on the verge of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory," Ban wrote in an editorial opinion published in the Austin American-Statesman, a US-based newspaper.
He said funding was drying up and some donors were threatening to cap their support as a result of the global economic recession.
He noted that this development could leave millions of those living with AIDS to their fate, with other donors also shifting their support to other diseases they feel are cheaper to treat and control.
"At a time when we should be scaling up to meet the AIDS challenge, in other words, we are scaling back," the secretary-general wrote.
He recounted a moving experience he had during a recent trip to Uganda when he met a group of young people who are living healthy lives despite being infected with HIV/AIDS, because they are beneficiaries of a treatment programme.
He noted that external support had enabled Uganda to scale up the number of HIV-infected people receiving anti-retroviral treatment from 10,000 a decade ago to 200,000 now.
Ban said across Africa, an estimated seven million people who should be receiving treatment for HIV/AIDS were not, while worldwide, the figure was 10 million.
"At the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, in July, I hope the international community will rally round the UN Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) launch of `Treatment 2.
0- the next generation of HIV treatment', which must be more affordable, more effective and accessible to all," he said.
The UN chief, therefore, urged all donors to see to it that countries get the support they need.
"Yes, times are hard, that is all the more reason to act out of compassion and with generosity," he added.

16 june 2010 17:09:00

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