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Will AIDS Funding Limit Treatment?

Will AIDS Funding Limit Treatment?

Supporters of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria say $20 billion is needed to replenish its resources and expand its grant programs. Many, however, believe it is unlikely donors will commit to this amount at next week's funding meeting.

"We're kind of at a crucial moment in terms of the fight against HIV," says Jen Cohn, HIV policy adviser for Doctors Without Borders. "We continue to be hopeful that the donor nations will realize the importance of this current round of grants and the future rounds of grants that the Global Fund will be giving in order to reach goals like universal access and use treatment as prevention."

However, Cohn says, "I am very concerned that donations from wealthy countries to the Global Fund will not even reach a level of $13 billion that the Global Fund says it needs to basically just keep its doors open and continue existing grants, without significantly scaling up or being able to fund new, more ambitious grants."

Tuesday was designated Global Day of Action, and activists, nongovernmental organizations, and others highlighted the funding issue. In South Africa, for example, demonstrations were held at the German and Italian embassies. Germany and Italy have not yet announced their Global Fund contributions. Germany is the third-largest contributor to the fund behind the United States and France.

"We suspect they're going to be drastically decreasing their donations from previous years," Cohn says. "And in fact there has been a preliminary announcement that Germany may give just $200 million in [fiscal year 2011] but then not actually contribute anything in fiscal years '12 and '13."

Japan and France both announced donations that represent a "modest increase from previous years," she says. Funding from the United States, she adds, will be "crucial."

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