San Francisco Chronicle Examines Advocates’ Concerns About Ongoing Challenges in Fight Against HIV/AIDS
At the close of the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, advocates "still see the glass as three-quarters empty" and "worry about the challenges to come," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Mark Wainberg, co-chair of the conference and director of the McGill University AIDS Centre, said, "Sustainability is key. We need to sustain the political pressure and sustain the rollout of drugs." One of the main challenges to sustainability is a shortage of funds, according to the Chronicle. Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Executive Director Richard Feachem said the Global Fund needs $500 million in additional funding by November to meet its goals. He added that donor countries themselves set the target of universal access to antiretroviral drugs by 2010. "They know that without a fully funded Global Fund, universal access is pie in the sky." Weak health systems also limit the ability to improve care and widen access to treatment, the Chronicle reports. In addition, the Health Global Access Project urged the U.S. to provide $650 million into a new program to train and retain health workers in Africa. "AIDS thrives where there are no health care providers," Jennifer Cohn of Health GAP said. Mark Dybul, ambassador for the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, said the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief spends 30% of its budget on training health care workers and aims to hire 1.7 million workers. The cost of antiretrovirals also might jeopardize the sustainability of HIV/AIDS commitments, the Chronicle reports. Medecins Sans Frontieres has called for the implementation of international agreements that enable countries to circumvent patent laws and produce generic antiretrovirals at a lower cost to ensure that second-line drugs are affordable (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/18).
Kaisernetwork.org served as the official webcaster of the conference. View the guide to coverage and all webcasts, interviews and a daily video round up of conference highlights at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/aids2006.