A new report has warned of the dangers of the drastic cut in funding of AIDS programs worldwide. The report by the International Treatment Preparedness Control released in Kampala and Delhi says that if the trends continue, millions of people may die.
In the forward of the report titled "Rationing Funds, Risking Lives: World Backtracks on HIV Treatment," Dr. Peter Mugyenyi the head of the Joint Clinical Research Center says that for the first time since 2004, some HIV-positive men and women who are in need of life-saving antiretroviral treatment are being turned away because of funding cuts. He says his greatest fear is that AIDS treatment organizations may have to ration HIV medications for those already receiving treatment.
The International Treatment Preparedness Coalition found that AIDS drug stocks are running out because of government budget cuts and flat-lined funding from major donors like the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Aditi Sharma, coordinator of the report, says governments cannot afford to put the clock back and take the world back to the days when HIV was a death sentence.
The report states that the Global Fund would need 20 billion dollars over the next three years to help meet health-related U.N. Millennium Development Goals. However traditional donor nations have warned that raising just 13 billion dollars is a stretch.
The Global Fund, set up with the backing of the Group of Eight rich nations in 2001, was set up as a 10 billion-dollar a year war chest to fight major diseases. According to the report, the Global Fund only operates on three billion dollars a year.
It is estimated that 33 million people around the world are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. According to United Nations statistics more than half of the 9.5 million people who need AIDS drugs cannot get them.
A second report released yesterday in London by the International Harm Reduction Association pointed to a shortfall in harm reduction measures like clean needle exchanges and providing condoms. It said these shortfalls are fuelling HIV epidemics in parts of Europe and Asia.