UNITAID Reaches Deal With Travel Agencies to Raise Donations for HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria

UNITAID on Wednesday announced that it has reached an agreement with three travel reservation systems that will allow users to make voluntary $2 donations to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria efforts, AFP/Google.com reports. According to UNITAID Chair Philipe Douste-Blazy, he expects the system to be established by the end of this year. Under the system, users buying airline tickets online will be able to make a voluntary donation to UNITAID by selecting a box when completing their purchases. The agreement was reached with the travel agencies Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport.

Douste-Blazy said that a study conducted by the consulting firm McKinsey found that the voluntary donations would result in several hundred million dollars in extra funding for UNITAID. The new program follows a tax launched in 2006 by France and adopted by about 12 additional countries. According to Douste-Blazy, the tax has raised about $350 million annually to address the three diseases (AFP/Google.com, 4/1).

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