International Donors Should Increase Contributions to Global Fund, Mandela Says in Opinion Piece
International donors should increase their pledges to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria because any shortfalls in the fund's resources could "hamper its efforts to stimulate and sustain precisely the kind of international partnerships that have the greatest potential for success" in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, former South African President Nelson Mandela writes in a London's Times opinion piece. Until a cure for HIV/AIDS is developed, "the challenge is to stop people from getting HIV in the first place, and particularly to curtail its spread among young people," Mandela writes. He points to "clear evidence that combining the resources of the developed world with innovative local solutions in the unique cultures of developing countries is making a difference." The "key" to developing successful prevention programs "seems to be the degree to which local efforts adapt international experience to the needs and attitudes of local populations," Mandela says. He cites successful local treatment and prevention programs in Brazil, India and Thailand. He also says there are "promising signs" that loveLife, an "unprecedented" prevention campaign aimed at South African youth, is "paying off" (Mandela, Times, 9/27). Mandela points to a recent study indicating that youth who have participated in loveLife programs are significantly less likely than those who have not participated to be HIV-positive. More than 85% of young people in South Africa have reported that they are aware of loveLife and one-third have participated in a loveLife program, Mandela writes (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/26).
"We are at a critical moment in our fight against HIV, and maintaining momentum now is vital," Mandela writes. He continues, "At a time when we are beginning to see signs of progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the nations of the world should surely be able to agree at least on the need to fully replenish the Global Fund." He calls on nations to contribute their "fair share" to the fund, adding, "Failure to do so will undermine the worldwide political leadership on HIV/AIDS we have worked so hard to establish, and progress in combating the pandemic will stall." He concludes, "Once the current spirit of global commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS is lost, it will never be restored" (Times, 9/27).