Fifteen thousand delegates including researchers, activists, and health care professionals, convened in Barcelona, Spain yesterday for the opening session of the six-day International AIDS Conference. Troubled by the pandemic which has infected 40 million people worldwide with HIV, the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nation’s AIDS program (UNAIDS), and the International AIDS Society (IAS) urged the formation of an alliance to work alongside the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to expand expertise and assistance in developing countries.
According to the WHO, developing nations need roughly $10 billion a year for HIV programs” considerably more than the $2.8 billion they received this year. Even with price cuts from pharmaceutical companies and rising availability of generic drugs, UNAIDS physician Peter Piot says, “On the money front, we are moving. But it is not enough.” Sub-Saharan Africa, comprising just 11 percent of the global population, remains home to 70 percent of all infected individuals. HIV infection rates for Africa’s two most populous countries Nigeria and Ethiopia, with a combined population of 200 million, is expected to be around 20 percent by 2010. Botswana has a global high HIV infection rate of 40 percent.
Bush has blocked $34 million in US funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) which operates in over 130 countries across the globe providing maternal and child health programs, family planning programs, and programs aimed at the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV-AIDS.
TAKE ACTION Urge Bush to Release UNFPA Funds