[Ip-health] New York Times: Global Fight Against AIDS Falters as Pledges Fail to Reach Goal of $13 Billion
thiru at keionline.org
Tue Oct 5 23:03:37 PDT 2010
October 5, 2010
Global Fight Against AIDS Falters as Pledges Fail to Reach Goal of $13
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
In another signal that the global battle against AIDS is falling apart
for lack of money, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and
Malaria failed on Tuesday to reach even its lowest “austerity level”
fund-raising target of $13 billion — the amount it had said it needed
just to keep putting patients on treatment at current rates.
Three-year pledges from 40 countries attending a two-day conference
held in Manhattan amounted to $11.7 billion. The pledges were
announced at the United Nations. The fund had hoped to raise $20
billion to catch up with the growing epidemic.
No one now on treatment will be cut off, said Dr. Michel Kazatchkine,
the fund’s executive director, but the targets for the next few years
must be lowered.
He said that he “deeply appreciates” the amount raised, but that “we
need to recognize that it’s not enough to meet expected demand and
will lead to difficult decisions in the next three years.”
He could not, he said, estimate exactly how many deaths would result.
The fund pays for AIDS drugs for almost three million patients now,
and still might be able to reach four million by 2013. It had hoped to
reach five million or more.
It supports about half of the world’s poor who are getting treatment.
The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or Pepfar, started
under the administration of President George W. Bush, pays for the
An estimated 33 million people are infected worldwide, a number that
grows by a million people a year after adding new infections and
Of that number, about 14 million are already so sick that, under World
Health Organization guidelines, they should be on drugs. It looks
increasingly likely that that number will outpace the number getting
The United States pledged $4 billion, which is a nearly 40 percent
increase over its previous contribution. It is by far the most
generous donor, and most countries raised their contributions by less.
France, Canada and Norway went up by 20 percent, Japan by 28 percent.
Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands could not commit because of budget
cycles, but were expected to be in that ballpark; Italy and Spain gave
nothing. South Africa, which has the world’s worst AIDS epidemic, made
a token contribution of $2 million. Russia and China gave $60 million
and $14 million respectively, far less than fund officials had hoped.
To reach the fund’s $20 billion goal, all countries would have had to
roughly double their giving.
AIDS activists vented open frustration, both with the overall result
and the American contribution.
“This is a modest course correction, not what we were hoping for in
terms of U.S. leadership,” said Dr. Paul Zeitz, executive director of
the Global AIDS Alliance, an advocacy group that had lobbied the
administration for a $6 billion contribution. “This took the other
donors off the hook. Everyone could aim low.”
By not reaching a decision earlier, he complained, the United States
dithered away its leverage over other countries.
Under American law, the United States can contribute only one-third of
the fund. If it had told other donors privately weeks ago that it
intended a 40 percent increase, they would have been under pressure to
match that, both to avoid sounding cheap, and because the United
States cannot pay unless its donation is matched 2 to 1.
Dr. Eric Goosby, the global AIDS coordinator, said the intra-
administration debate about how much to pledge was “robust” and went
on right up until Tuesday morning.
“We’re proud of the pledge,” Dr. Goosby said in a telephone interview.
Getting the United States, which has a one-year budget cycle, to
commit to a three-year pledge was “swimming upstream,” especially in
such a weak economy.
The battles against malaria and tuberculosis will also suffer, but the
effect on AIDS is easier to measure. Malaria waxes and wanes with hot
weather and local spraying. The TB epidemic echoes the AIDS epidemic
because so many people have both, but TB can be cured in six months,
which shrinks case counts rapidly.
Neil MacFarquhar contributed reporting from the United Nations.
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
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