Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Thailand Sign Two-Year, $38M Grant Agreement for HIV Treatment
Officials from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Thai government on Sunday signed grant agreements for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis programs, according to a Global Fund release. The grants -- signed by Richard Feachem, executive director of the fund, and Dr. Pakdee Pothisiri, deputy permanent secretary of the Thai ministry of public health, and witnessed by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, chair of the fund's board, and Sudarat Keyuraphan, Thai minister of public health -- are jointly worth $38 million over the first two years. The grants will be used to "refuel" the nation's "praised" AIDS program, which has experienced budget cuts due to the country's economic crisis, according to the release. The money will be used to fund the provision of antiretroviral medications and address the recent rise in tuberculosis, including HIV-TB coinfections, the number of which has risen more than 40% in the past five years in the northern part of the country. The grant, together with a $20.3 million grant made in January, will also be used to scale up treatment for HIV-positive pregnant women and infants and address the spread of the disease among the country's 500,000 migrant workers, who mainly come from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos (Global Fund release, 5/18).
Laos, Cambodia Ramp Up Malaria, HIV/AIDS Efforts
The governments of Laos and Cambodia are ramping up their HIV/AIDS and malaria programs with the first disbursements of grants from the Global Fund, according to a fund release. In Laos, the Department of Hygiene and Prevention of the Ministry of Health, along with Population Services International, produces social marketing campaigns to encourage condom use among female sex workers and their clients (Global Fund release, 5/16). Although Laos has the lowest HIV prevalence rate in the Southeast Asian region -- about 1,000 people are HIV-positive -- the rate is increasing, according to U.N. officials. The rapidly increasing risk of an AIDS epidemic in Laos is due to "prejudice, a lack of open discussion and limited financial commitment," Dr. Nafis Sadik, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia, said on Monday (Agence France-Presse, 5/19). In Cambodia, the first disbursement of fund grants is being used to establish an office in Phnom Penh to coordinate the efforts of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Social Affairs and a number of nongovernmental organizations. The money will also be used to scale up a program aimed at reducing the risk of and treating HIV among military personnel, police, youth, garment factory workers, sex workers and their clients and people already living with the disease. Funding will also be provided to extend the country's successful sexually transmitted disease case management program to five additional provinces, support social marketing of condoms and extend HIV impact mitigation programs (Global Fund release, 5/16). Cambodia has the highest HIV prevalence in Asia, with 160,000 HIV-positive people between the ages of 15 and 49 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/16).