UNAIDS Chief: Funding Gap Threatens Strides in AIDS Fight

A USD10 billion financing deficit could put progress on combating AIDS at risk, according to Michel Sidibe, head of the Joint United Nations Program on AIDS, or UNAIDS.

“The world has made a giant leap towards reaching [Millennium Development Goal 6, which is to step up the fight against AIDS]. It is within our grasp,” Sidibe said.

He, however, warned that a USD10 billion shortfall in AIDS financing for 2009 poses a threat to these gains. European nations were providing USD623 million less in 2010 to global HIV programs, Sidibe said. UNAIDS estimated that USD25.9 billion was required to fight AIDS globally, of which only USD15.9 billion is currently available.

“I am scared,” he told Reuters AlertNet. “For the first time, we are seeing a decline in financial commitment from donor nations.”

UNAIDS suggests that governments earmark between 0.5 percent and 3 percent of their revenues to fighting HIV/AIDS, depending on the prevalence of the disease in their nation, The Guardian reports.

Meanwhile, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria chief Michel Kazatchkine is calling on the U.S. to take the lead in replenishing the fund’s coffers.

“On October 5, the Global Fund will ask donor countries for three-year funding pledges in the fight for better health around the world. If the U.S.’s commitment to the Global Fund is strong this fall, more countries will follow this lead and we can make significant advances in health around the world,” he writes in The Huffington Post.

Kazatchkine says this week’s Millennium Development Goals summit and the Global Fund’s replenishment conference will be “pivotal moments” in the future of global health.

“What we choose to do this year could mean the difference between a promise realized and an opportunity squandered,” Kazatchkine notes.

Devex News – live breaking news coverage of the Millennium Development Goals and the Sept. 20-22 U.N. MDG summit in New York.   

About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.