Global contributions to fighting HIV have dropped for the first time in 15 years because of the tough global financial climate of the past two years, according to Michel Sidibe, the executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.
"The world economic recession is pushing countries to enforce austerity," Sidibe said during a press conference in Tokyo. He also called on Japan to maintain its support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
Sidibe's message in Japan echoed appeals he made earlier in the week for nations to invest $10 billion in global AIDS programs to help countries worldwide achieve universal access for prevention, treatment, and care programs. "There are currently 10 million people living with HIV who are waiting for lifesaving treatment. Unless we close the funding gap, millions of people will be turned away from the promise of universal access," he said.