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Global Fund Director Calls On Emerging Countries To Invest More In Programs To Reduce HIV/AIDS, TB And Malaria At AIDS 2010

On the final day of the International AIDS Conference-AIDS 2010 Friday, Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria called upon “China, India and other fast-growing economies” to chip in to help close the funding gap in efforts to battle HIV/AIDS, Agence France-Presse reports. “Until now, these countries have been recipients of AIDS funds, not donors,” the news service writes.

“I believe that in a globalising world, in a world where countries like China are joining, and want to join, world governance, at a time when the G8 is becoming the G20, it is right for these countries to take up a share of the burden,” Kazatchkine said, according to AFP.

Kazatchkine said he has already discussed the need for contributions to the Global Fund during a recent visit with Chinese officials and through communications with members of “the petrodollar-flush economies of the Gulf,” the AFP writes. Next month, Kazatchkine will take his appeal to Dehli, according to the news service.

Kazatchkine’s efforts come ahead of the Global Fund meeting in October, where the group will decide on its financing for its programs over the next three years. There are concerns the Global Fund will fall short of its goal to reach $20 billion in pledges (U.S. Global Health Policy Report, 7/23).

The article explores additional ways the Global Fund is looking to raise funds for its programs and notes how Russia “set a precedent for switching to donor status” in 2006, when after “a rise in income from energy exports, Moscow said it would reimburse 270 million in Global Fund grants for activities in Russia” (Ingham, 7/23).

Capital News reports on the disappointment expressed by some advocates gathered at AIDS 2010 that “the conference failed to make any real commitments to ensure universal access to prevention, treatments and care.”

The article includes comments by Oxfam GB Senior Health and HIV Policy Advisor Mohga Kamal-Yanni, who offers a timeline for when countries will begin to announce pledges for the replenishment of the Global Fund (Karong’o, 7/24).

Rep. Barbara Lee Calls For Obama Administration To Commit $6B For Global Fund

VOA News reports that upon returning from AIDS 2010, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., called on the Obama administration to commit $6 billion over the next three years to the Global Fund.

Although Lee said she “recognize[s], especially being from the United States, the impact of the global economic slowdown,” she said a commitment to the Global Fund is “a matter of priority,” according to the news service. To come up with the funds for the Global Fund, Lee proposed money could come by eliminating waste in the defense budget. “Another target, she says, is tax breaks for the wealthy,” VOA News writes (DeCapua, 7/20).

Wrap Up Coverage Of AIDS 2010: Sex Workers, MSM, Criminalizing Transmission Of HIV

The Wall Street Journal offers a run-down of some of the major themes of AIDS 2010, including concerns over a growing gap in global funding for HIV/AIDS programs and advocates’ “call for an end to punitive practices such as laws in many countries that criminalize homosexuality and drug abuse,” practices that advocates’ argue drive such high-risk groups from seeking HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. The article includes comments by Julio Montaner, president of the International AIDS Society and co-chair of AIDS 2010 (Winslow, 7/23).

The Globe and Mail examines what the newspaper refers to as the “most overlooked” topics addressed at the meeting: “One of the cheapest, most effective and proven prevention methods is the condom. Yet as new measures come along – microbicides, antiretrovirals, circumcision, etc. – investments in condoms and safer-sex campaigns have fallen off,” the newspaper writes. “According to the United Nations Population Fund, 2.7 billion condoms were distributed last year. It is estimated that 13 billion condoms are needed.”

The newspaper also looks at how despite the push for countries to sign on to the Vienna Declaration at AIDS 2010, officials from Russia – “home to one of the most explosive epidemics on HIV/AIDS in the world, one fuelled by IV drug use” – remained “virtually silent” on the matter during the conference. “Russian officials have said, essentially, that they will not fund HIV/AIDS programs for drug users, prisoners and sex workers, and they blatantly thumbed their nose at the AIDS Conference in Vienna,” the newspaper writes (Picard, 7/23).

HIV/AIDS advocates are hopeful that data presented at AIDS 2010 demonstrating the “increasing toll [of HIV] on men-having-sex-with men or MSM” will lead to greater resources for HIV prevention and treatment targeted to this group, VOA News reports.

The article includes comments on the limited HIV/AIDS funding worldwide that targets MSM and transgenders by Shivananda Khan of the Naz Foundation International, which provides technical and development assistance to MSM groups in South Asia, and Joel Nana, executive director of African Men for Sexual Health and Rights. The piece also includes comments by Nyambura Njoroge, who is a Presbyterian minister and program executive of the Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative in Africa of the World Council of Churches (DeCapua, 7/23).

Meanwhile, IRIN/PlusNews examines the ongoing “tug-of-war” between “governments trying to criminalize the transmission of HIV on one side, and activists who say such laws are not only ineffective as a deterrent but are also harming the fight against AIDS, on the other.”

Advocates have argued that laws criminalizing HIV exposure and transmission can “make HIV-negative people complacent by placing the burden of responsibility solely on those living with the virus.” Additionally, advocates argue such “laws can also damage efforts to increase HIV testing rates by creating mistrust of health service providers who may, according to some of the new legislation, report a person’s HIV status to their partner, or even testify against them in court” (7/23).

U.S. Health Officials Reflect On Key Scientific Finds Delivered At AIDS 2010

To discuss some of the latest scientific advances presented at AIDS 2010, NPR’s Talk Of the Nation “Science Friday” features a discussion with Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Kevin Fenton, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

During the hour-long program, Fauci and Fenton share their insights on the significance of treating HIV early, the results of the antiretroviral-containing microbicide gel study presented at AIDS 2010, HIV/AIDS disparities in the U.S., and funding for HIV research in the U.S. (Flatow, 7/23).

Women’s Rights Groups At AIDS 2010 Critical Of U.N.’s Approach To Hiring Head For Women’s Agency

Also during AIDS 2010, women’s rights advocates spoke out about the lack of transparency the U.N. is taking in naming the under-secretary to lead its new agency for women, the Mail & Guardian reports.

Speaking at the conference, “Paula Donovan, co-director of the Aids Free World advocacy organisation, said that she and others central to the agency’s creation were assured by [U.N. Secretary-General Ban] Ki-moon that the hiring process would be markedly different from that of other sections of the UN. … Yet advocates claim the process has been completely private, and there has been no outside input,” according to the newspaper.

The article details some of the criticisms women rights advocates over the U.N.’s record on dealing with women’s issues before noting, “Of central concern to women’s rights is the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

“[D]espite increased calls to address gender discrimination as part of the fight against HIV/AIDS, men still dominate the response,” the newspaper writes. “At an UNAIDS meeting earlier this year, at which gender was considered a necessary ‘pillar’, less than a quarter of panel members were women. Despite this, Donovan said ‘in the minds of people at the top, there seems to be absolutely no disconnect between those two things … They say that women need to be at the centre of treatment and are at the centre of the pandemic, but then continue to appoint mostly men.’”

The article includes comments by Stephen Lewis, former U.N. Special envoy for HIV/AIDS (Kardas-Nelson, 7/24).

All of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s webcasts of select sessions from AIDS 2010 are available at http://www.kff.org/aids2010.