Economic Crisis Could Reverse Recent Gains in Fight Against HIV/AIDS
The executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Monday warned that the global economic crisis could reverse worldwide gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the Herald Sun reports.
During a speech to the International Harm Reduction Association, Michel Kazatchkine was particularly concerned with the trickle down effects of the financial crisis on wealthy nations to "keep up development aid commitments."
According to The Herald Sun, the Global Fund, which is financed through donor nations, corporations, private foundations, is expected to have a run a $4 billion deficit between 2008-2010. Kazatchkine's statements come only weeks after U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon encouraged donors to maintain their contributions to the Global Fund despite the financial crisis. Kazatchkine called potential gaps in funding a "'threat' to programmes to slow the spread of HIV and to treat millions of affected people in developing countries," the Herald Sun writes.
Kazatchkine also called for decriminalizing illicit drug use to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. "Drug users have been looked towards as criminals, they are arrested, harassed, they are imprisoned, they have no access to services, they are not respected in the very basic human rights perspective," according to Kazatchkine.
"Only about two to three percent of the available resources for HIV/AIDS were spent on harm reduction, principally among injecting drug users, International Harm Reduction Association executive director Gerry Stimson said at the conference," The Herald Sun writes. "If we are serious about reducing HIV infection amongst injecting drug users then we are going to need between two and three billion (US dollars) this year" (Kemp, Herald Sun, 4/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.