U.K. Development Minister Launches $350M Fund for HIV/AIDS Research
United Kingdom Development Minister Gareth Thomas on Tuesday announced a new fund worth 220 million British pounds, or about $350 million, for research into technologies aimed at curbing the spread of HIV worldwide, London's Guardian reports. The fund likely will be aimed at researchers who are developing new HIV/AIDS technologies -- such as microbicides, vaccines or new treatments. "Only through research will we find ways to halt this epidemic," Thomas said when announcing the fund at a meeting of researchers and other experts convened by the government in London. He added, "I hope this funding will help discover new lifesaving technology."
According to Thomas, the HIV/AIDS pandemic will worsen unless increased funding and effort are dedicated to curbing its spread. He added that although more HIV-positive people worldwide are gaining access to antiretroviral drugs and some statistics indicate a decline in global HIV/AIDS cases, such progress will be fruitless unless effective prevention methods are available. "The reality is that the spread of HIV is set to spiral out of control unless we act now," he said, adding, "Five people are infected with HIV every minute. We must increase our efforts, and increase them now" (Boseley, Guardian, 11/4).