Global Fund Money Expands HIV/AIDS Treatment, Prevention Programs in Haiti
The first disbursements of a two-year, $25 million grant to Haiti from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are being used to expand treatment and prevention programs and purchase antiretroviral drugs for some of the island's 300,000 HIV-positive individuals, the AP/Washington Post reports (James, AP/Washington Post, 6/8). Haiti is scheduled to receive $67 million in grant money over the next five years from the Global Fund. UNAIDS estimates that more than 5% of Haitian adults ages 15 to 49 are HIV-positive, and last year, HIV/AIDS was responsible for 30,000 deaths in the country (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/16). About 2% of the Caribbean's population is HIV-positive, making it the second-most affected region after sub-Saharan Africa, according to the AP/Post. Haiti accounts for most of the cases in the region, but physicians say prevention programs have been effective. Dr. William Jean Pape, a Cornell University professor whose Gheskio clinic treated more than 21,000 HIV/AIDS patients last year, said that he will use $1.7 million from the Global Fund to upgrade treatment, prevention and testing at the new centers in clinics and hospitals throughout Haiti, according to the AP/Post. Dr. Paul Farmer, director of Partners in Health and a Harvard Medical School professor, said that $2.5 million will be used to double the number of HIV/AIDS patients seen at hospitals and clinics in the impoverished central plateau. Partners in Health is obtaining cheaper antiretrovirals for patients, but Farmer said that many needs remain. "We lose patients every week because we don't have enough meds," Farmer said (AP/Washington Post, 6/8). Haiti is also expected to receive funding under the five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative that was recently signed by President Bush (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/16).
A kaisernetwork.org video feature prepared by Fred de Sam Lazaro, a correspondent for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, is available online, along with additional information and resources about Haiti.