Don't Flag on AIDS Support
BY HIV Plus Editors
December 15 2009 1:00 AM ET
The financial crisis is constraining aid spending among donor countries, but scaling back international AIDS efforts now would be penny-wise and pound-foolish, experts say.
"The financial crisis is of course affecting -- and clearly affecting -- the capacity of donors to fund international programs on AIDS," says Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
Kazatchkine says he is concerned especially for the year ahead, when a three-year round of fund-raising ends. "2010 will be a key year when it comes to funding global health and funding AIDS prevention, treatment, and AIDS science," he says. "The risk is that we lose momentum, that we lose the trust, and that we lose the hope that we have generated in an unprecedented movement in global health in the past eight years."
Adds Peter Piot, the former chief of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS: "Now is not the time to decrease efforts because the bill is then going to get higher and higher. It's a matter of 'pay now or pay later.' We know that there is money. The bailout of banks has shown that there is money; there is mega-money when it is needed."