Global Fund Pursuing Condom-Distribution Agreements With Multinational Corporations
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is in the process of securing agreements from several multinational companies, including Coca-Cola, to increase their assistance in the international fight against HIV/AIDS, Reuters reports. "We have not come to agreements yet, but the distribution of condoms is the kind of idea," Richard Feachem, the fund's executive director, said, adding that fund officials have approached "two or three" companies that have large operations in nations hit hard by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Feachem said that the corporate world's contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS so far has been "disappointingly small." However, he said that a successful venture with a company like Coca-Cola might stimulate more interest. "We would like to get a few, very concrete examples up and running quickly to demonstrate how partnerships with the corporate sector can really make a difference," he said. Feachem added that the current scandals rocking the business world could also aid the fund's cause. "If you look at the current events in the United States, where corporate ethics are much in question, (it could become) even more important for corporate good citizenship to be demonstrated," he said.
So far, the fund has received about $2 billion in pledges, mostly from governments. The United Nations estimates that up to $10 billion a year -- from a variety of sources including the fund -- is needed to effectively fight HIV/AIDS on a global scale. Feachem said he was "confident" that the fund will receive more money from a variety of donors as its sponsored projects begin to show results. "As we move forward with greater credibility ... with greater results, those things will raise confidence in the Global Fund and bring in more money," he said, adding, "When we talk of results, we do not mean declining death rates. That will take much longer. We mean more people under treatment, more people getting information about safe sex and the use of condoms" (Waddington, Reuters, 8/1).