UNAIDS Says $5 Billion Needed Annually to Fight HIV/AIDS in Africa
About $5 billion -- 10 times the amount presently spent -- is needed annually to "organize effective prevention, to care for people living with HIV and to support AIDS orphans" in Africa, UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said late Monday at the 12th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Africa, Reuters reports. Piot told reporters at the conference, which is taking place this week in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, that the money should come from the national budgets of affected nations, foreign donors and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a $7 billion to $10 billion fund proposed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan last spring. "The phase of planning and small pilot projects is over. I am telling the communities, young people and those living with HIV to stand up and be counted," Piot said. Stephen Lewis, Annan's special representative for AIDS in Africa, said that "Africa is now mobilized to apply all the plans which have been drawn up, but this requires donor funds, and that money is not there yet," adding that between 6,000 and 8,000 Africans die of AIDS-related causes each day (Bonkoungou, Reuters, 12/11).
Ten Nations Cut Deals to Slash Prices on AIDS Drugs
In other conference news, 10 African nations have signed deals with pharmaceutical firms to cut the costs of antiretroviral drugs by an average of 85%, according to U.N. officials. Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Gabon, Ivory Cost, Mali, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Uganda pledged in return not to resell the drugs to other nations. Two studies unveiled at the conference concluded that it is feasible to use the drugs in developing nations, contradicting contentions that African nations are "ill-equipped" to manage the treatment (Agence France-Presse/New York Times, 12/12).