Global Fund Awards $34.2 Million Grant to Russia for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis Treatment, Care
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has awarded Russia a two-year, $34.2 million grant for the treatment and care of people living with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, the Los Angeles Times reports. HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, who also serves as chair of the Global Fund Board, during a series of meetings in Moscow on Thursday announced the grant approval (Holley, Los Angeles Times, 7/2). The grant is the third Global Fund grant awarded to Russia (Oxley, Reuters, 7/1). The fund in 2003 awarded Russia an $88.7 million HIV/AIDS grant and a $10.8 million TB grant (HHS release, 7/1). Thompson and Russian Health Minister Mikhail Zurabov also announced that the countries have agreed in principle on an effort to reduce the cost of antiretroviral drugs from between $10,000 and $15,000 per patient per year to between $500 and $1,000 per patient per year. Neither Thompson nor Zurabov would discuss details of the plan, according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 7/2). Zurabov said that the country will use only "patented and effective medicines," according to RIA Novosty (RIA Novosty, 7/1). "The decrease in price doesn't mean we'll be using lower quality medicines than in economically developed countries," Zurabov said, adding, "They will be the same set of drugs but at a lower price." Thompson said that the grant and the drug plan will help provide antiretroviral therapy for 5,000 people in the first year and up to 75,000 people by the fifth year (Reuters, 7/1).
Meetings, Other Plans
Thompson and Zurabov at the meetings also discussed plans for "joint research and coordination" in HIV efforts, including possible coordination on vaccine research and drug development, Zurabov said, according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 7/2). Thompson said, "AIDS is a disease that knows no borders, and all nations mutst dedicate themselves to confronting this scourge as openly as possible," adding, "The United States and the Global Fund look forward to working with the Russian government, as well as community and faith-based groups, to build an effective national response to this disease" (HHS release, 7/1). Before 1999, Russia had only a few thousand registered HIV-positive residents, but the nation currently has more than 280,000 registered cases. U.N. and Russian officials estimate that about one million HIV-positive people live in Russia. Despite the recent increase in the number of new HIV/AIDS cases, the Russian government spends less than $1 million per year on HIV prevention (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/14).