Aids Focus

Aids funding cuts will affect millions

2011-11-28 21:40

Special Report

Johannesburg - A $1.6bn cut in funding for Aids treatment could affect millions of people as donors failed to meet commitments to the Global Fund, campaigners said on Monday.

The Global Fund last week said it would not bankroll new Aids treatment projects until 2014 because the world financial crisis forced donor countries to cut spending.

But a civil society coalition including groups like aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and the Treatment Action Campaign accused rich nations of using the crisis as an excuse.

"This is not an issue of funding. It comes down to broken promises," said Daygan Eager, of the Budget Expenditure Monitoring Forum, which campaigns for Aids funding in southern Africa.

"In a crisis, donating to the Global Fund is not good politics," Eager told a press conference in Johannesburg.

The Global Fund is the world's largest multilateral funder of Aids, tuberculosis and malaria treatment.

It has financed 70% of antiretroviral drugs in the developing world and is one of the major funders of medicine in sub-Saharan Africa, home to two thirds of all people living with Aids.

"The more we treat people, the fewer infections we will have," said Eric Goemaere, South Africa medical officer at MSF (Doctors without Borders).

"Unfortunately the political message today is to treat less people."

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