Australia Pledges To More Than Double Funding To Fight AIDS in Asia-Pacific Region
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer announced on Sunday at the Second Asia-Pacific Ministerial Meeting on HIV/AIDS in Bangkok that Australia would more than double to $437 million its funding to fight HIV/AIDS in the Asia-Pacific region, the Sydney Morning Herald reports (Pollard, Sydney Morning Herald, 7/12). Downer did not specify whether the funding would go toward the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria or independent programs, saying only that the money "will mostly be spent" in the Asia-Pacific region, the Associated Press reports (Associated Press, 7/11). Australia also will provide $2.2 million to the Asia-Pacific Leadership Forum on HIV/AIDS, Downer said (Sydney Morning Herald, 7/12). Downer also announced the appointment of Annmaree O'Keeffe, a senior official with Australia's Agency for International Development, as the country's first special representative on HIV/AIDS, the Sydney Daily Telegraph reports (Sydney Daily Telegraph, 7/12). "[HIV/AIDS] is not just a health issue; it is a human security issue, it is an issue that can tear apart the fabric of societies and cause deep economic damage," Downer said (Sydney Morning Herald, 7/12). He added that Australia's main concern was for Papua New Guinea and Cambodia. Downer said, "We do have strong HIV/AIDS programs that we are running in Papua New Guinea. But I think the growth in the problem there is serious" (Associated Press, 7/12).
Several U.S. and international broadcast programs reported on strategies for fighting HIV/AIDS in Thailand and the South Pacific:
Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Asia Pacific": The segment includes comments from World Health Organizations's Dr. Jack Chow; UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot; and Relaki Ngawu, an HIV-positive AIDS advocate from Nigeria (Lloyd, "Asia Pacific," ABC, 7/13). The complete segment is available online in Windows Media.
- NPR's "Talk of the Nation": The segment will examine how to maintain political will in fighting HIV/AIDS (Neary, "Talk of the Nation," NPR, 7/13). The complete segment will be available online in RealPlayer and Windows Media after the broadcast. Expanded NPR coverage is available online.
Xtra Broadband News: The segment includes comments from Dr. Kathleen Cravero, deputy executive director of UNAIDS; Helen Leslie, a New Zealand government official; and Rachael Le Mesurier of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation (Glennie, Xtra Broadband News, 7/13). The complete segment is available online in Windows Media.