French president Nicolas Sarkozy has announced he will provide $1.4 billion to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria for 2011-2013. The announcement was made by Sarkozy at the Millennium Development Summit being held at the United Nations in New York and is expected to be the first of a number of pledges made ahead of the Global Fund's Replenishment Meeting.
"At a time of difficult fiscal space, France has put the interests of people living with HIV first," says Michel Sidibé, executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. "I urge all other countries to follow the lead of France and fully fund the Global Fund."
Sidibé also met with President Sarkozy and wife Carla Bruni Sarkozy at a meeting during the MDG summit. President Sarkozy commended UNAIDS' approach to leverage the AIDS movement as part of the broader health and development agenda. UNAIDS promotes the AIDS plus MDG approach that seeks to integrate AIDS with other MDGs to optimize efficiency in the use of resources to save and improve lives.
"AIDS is a smart investment that is producing results for people holistically," Sidibé says. "This is a time for scaling up, not scaling down. I congratulate President Sarkozy on his bold leadership and support for the AIDS response."
The third replenishment meeting of the Global Fund will be held on October 4–5 in New York and will be chaired by United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon. "Through this announcement, France has demonstrated both leadership and vision," says Secretary General Ban. "France is setting a strong example for others to increase their commitments to the Global Fund. The replenishment of the Global Fund is a test of global solidarity. Through President Sarkozy's announcement, France has shown strong solidarity with the women, men, and children around the world who are most in need of treatment, protection, and care."
It is estimated that nearly 2.8 million people are accessing treatment through funds provided by the Global Fund, more than half of the people on treatment today. However, there are nearly 10 million people living with HIV who urgently need treatment today. Five people get newly infected with HIV for every two people who newly access treatment.
New UNAIDS data show that new HIV infections have declined by more than 25% in 22 countries most affected by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. With nearly 5.2 million people on antiretroviral therapy, AIDS related deaths have fallen.