Policy & Politics

U.S. Urges More Funding From Countries for HIV/AIDS Fight; U.K., Australia, Others Pledge More Money

December 1, 2005

The U.S. -- which provides half of all funding to fight HIV/AIDS and is the single largest donor to the Global Fund To Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria -- on Wednesday called on other countries to commit more funding to the fight against HIV/AIDS, AFP/Channel NewsAsia reports. "The U.S. is providing about 50% of all the resources for HIV/AIDS among international governments and that fundamentally needs to change," Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul said, adding, "So we need everyone in the world to step up to the same type of leadership." Dybul dismissed criticism that the U.S.'s focus on sexual abstinence as a primary preventive tool is hampering efforts to control the disease. He said African countries support the "ABC" approach -- abstinence, be faithful, use a condom -- and the U.S. is reflecting this support (AFP/Channel NewsAsia, 12/1). Dybul, speaking at a briefing in Washington, D.C., to mark World AIDS Day, also announced that the U.S. plans to spend $3.2 billion in fiscal year 2006 to fight the disease in the third year of funding for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Although Congress has not yet finalized the FY 2006 budget, Dybul said he is confident the money will be allocated (Porter, Washington File, 11/30).

Some HIV/AIDS advocates criticized the Bush administration for not doing enough to help the Global Fund fill a funding gap of more than $3 billion, the Miami Herald reports. The U.S. in 2004 contributed $459 million to the fund and this year pledged $414 million, which accounts for one-third of the fund's total financing. "What we need here is for the U.S. to take the leadership that President Bush appears to want to take on AIDS," Joia Mukhrejee, medical director for Partners in Health, said, adding, "The idea of one-third is like falling to the back of the pack instead of leading the pack, and it's eroding the Global Fund." Dybul said, "The president has been leading; the Congress has been in lockstep" (Douglas, Miami Herald, 12/1). In related news, some British lawmakers on the House of Commons International Development Committee in a report released for World AIDS Day said that the U.S.'s "increasingly moralistic" approach to HIV prevention is holding back efforts to combat the disease (Xinhua, 12/1). The U.S. focus on abstinence "does not tally with an evidence-based approach" to preventing the spread of the disease, the report says (AP/Jamaica Observer, 11/30).

U.K., Others Pledge Funding
The United Kingdom marked World AIDS Day on Thursday by announcing plans to contribute $48 million to fight the disease. The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative will receive $35 million, and the International Partnership for Microbicides will receive $13 million (AP/Jamaica Observer, 11/30). Three other countries also announced funding for IPM -- Ireland, which pledged $10.5 million over three years; Denmark, which pledged $4.3 million over three years; and Sweden, which will give $1.2 million (IPM release, 11/30).

Australia to Provide Funding for India
The Australian government, recognizing World AIDS Day, on Thursday announced it plans to provide $7.4 million over five years to help India defeat the disease. The program will focus on preventing HIV/AIDS among children, sex workers, and drug users and their partners in India's northeast region, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said. The funding also will go toward developing new approaches to HIV education, prevention and care, Downer added (AFP/Yahoo! News, 12/1).

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