Decrease in HIV funding deadly

A decrease in HIV/Aids funding by international donors would result in unnecessary deaths, Mdecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without borders) said on Thursday.

"International donors are flat-lining and direct funds for Aids treatment are being affected," MSF health policy analyst Dr Mit Phillips said at a press briefing in Johannesburg. "The supply system is fragile. There are not many candidates to help out."

Phillips said that United States President Barack Obama's emergency plan for Aids relief [Pepfar] reduced its budget for antiretroviral (ARV) treatment in 2009 and 2010. It also introduced a freeze on its overall HIV/Aids budget.

Other donors such as UNITAID and the World Bank had also announced plans to reduce their funding for ARV drugs in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This meant that the global fund, which is the largest funding institution in the fight against HIV/Aids, faced a major funding shortfall. "If there is reduced funding, then it means more people will die and we will have more orphans," said Phillips.  - (Reuters, May 2010)

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