AIDS Experts Endorse Trust Fund Plan, Urge International Leaders to Act
A group of 30 HIV/AIDS experts, convened by UNAIDS, the International AIDS Society and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation "in an effort to help shape the next phase of the global response" to HIV/AIDS, issued a statement on Thursday "clarify[ing] global goals and targets under discussion" in anticipation of the U.N. General Assembly's special session on HIV/AIDS next month. The group "endorsed" the $7 billion to $10 billion annual trust fund estimate set forth by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and called for "urgent action by the world's leaders to commit both the financial resources and the political will to bring the AIDS epidemic under control." Gordon Perkin, director of the Global Health Program for the Gates Foundation, said, "There has never been a more important opportunity for concerted world action against the HIV epidemic. There is an urgent need for a massive increase in access to proven prevention and care tools." The group also endorsed the use of antiretroviral drugs but "warned against unmonitored or careless use" of the drugs. "Without careful use, [medications] can do more harm than good, as the therapy rapidly loses its effectiveness if the virus becomes drug-resistant," Stefano Vella, president of IAS, said. Calling the epidemic a "crisis of unprecedented proportions," the group asked world leaders to "take advantage" of the upcoming special session to "mobilize funds and commitment to halt the spread of the epidemic" (UNAIDS release, 5/10). To read the entire declaration, click here.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.