Japan Pledges $5B Over Five Years To Help African Nations Fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria
Japanese officials on Tuesday at a two-day summit in Tokyo to examine the Asia-Pacific region's progress toward meeting the U.N. Millennium Development Goals for health announced a new initiative to help improve health in poor countries, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 6/21). Japan will provide $5 billion over five years to help African nations fight infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, according to United Press International (United Press International, 6/21). The initiative aims to help developing countries achieve MDG targets and is a successor to Japan's Okinawa Infectious Diseases Initiative, which was established in 2000 to fight the spread of diseases worldwide (AFP/Yahoo! News, 6/21). The new initiative will provide funds for medications, vaccines, clean water, health care infrastructure development and medical training (Jiji Press, 6/20). Japan also will provide malaria drugs and mosquito nets and condoms to curb the spread of HIV (Kyodo/Yahoo! Asia News, 6/21). Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is expected to formally announce the plan at the meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized countries, which is scheduled for July 6-8 in Gleneagles, Scotland. Japan also is expected to increase its contribution to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (United Press International, 6/21).
Stigma Hampering HIV Treatment in Japan, Advocates Say
HIV/AIDS-related stigma is impeding access to treatment in Japan, despite experts' warnings that the country could be hit hard by the disease, advocates say, Reuters AlertNet reports. Many people avoid getting tested or treated for HIV out of fear that they will lose their jobs and friends if their HIV status is made public. There also is a misconception in the country that only certain people, such as men who have sex with men and hemophiliacs, are affected by the disease. Some experts predict that the number of HIV/AIDS cases in Japan could reach 50,000 by 2010 (Lies, Reuters AlertNet, 6/22).