IAS Releases Sydney Declaration, Calls for Increase in Research Funding to Fight HIV/AIDS
The International AIDS Society on Tuesday ahead of the 4th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention -- scheduled to take place July 22 to July 25 in Sydney, Australia -- released the Sydney Declaration, which calls for increased research funding to fight HIV/AIDS worldwide, the Australian Associated Press reports.
The declaration proposes that all HIV programs spend at least 10% of their budgets on research and states that "although funding remains insufficient to meet the increasing need for services, it is imperative that the global community does not lose sight of the future while responding to the immediate crisis."
The declaration notes that "in addition to basic, clinical, prevention, social, and policy research," operations research also is important to "enable rapid implementation of new technologies to prevent, diagnose and treat" HIV (McLean, Australian Associated Press, 7/10). Few countries and organizations allocate funds for research and often do not use such funding when it is available, the declaration says. According to the declaration, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria allows 10% of each grant for operations research, but the provision rarely is used by countries (Sydney Declaration, July 2007).
IAS in a statement released with the declaration said that "without such funding," the international community will "fail to maintain a sustained and effective response to the AIDS pandemic." David Cooper, director of Australia's National Centre for HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, said the funding pledge is critical to address HIV in developing countries and ensure that HIV prevention and treatment programs are integrated with existing health programs, such as hospital care and TB, malaria, prenatal, postnatal, and sexual and reproductive health services (Australian Associated Press, 7/10).
The declaration also called for a "sustained commitment" to continuously improve evidenced-based HIV services and for a "greater understanding" of the social, political and cultural barriers that contribute to stigma and discrimination associated with HIV. In addition, the declaration addressed the "absurd theories of AIDS denialists" and "'magic cures" that "continue to confuse policymakers, health care professionals and communities of people at risk of and living with HIV/AIDS throughout the world" (Sydney Declaration, July 2007).
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