- tuberculosis patient, El Salvador
The global HIV/AIDS pandemic – which, though slowed, continues to infect and kill millions – moved up on the media radar screen this week thanks to World AIDS Day, on Sunday, and an international meeting hosted by the U.S. government devoted to coordinating the fight against three of the world’s leading killer diseases.
Today, at that meeting, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced it had beaten the most dire predictions of the pessimists and received $12 billion in new pledges to fund treatments and prevention projects aimed at reducing the burden of these diseases in poor countries over the next three years.
“This represents nearly a 30 percent increase over what we received in 2010, $9.2 billion,” said Christoph Benn, spokesman for the Global Fund. Benn and others credited the Obama Administration’s pledge of $4 billion together with a $2-for-$1 match (up to a total of $5 billion) promised for other donors who contribute over the next year to the Global Fund.
The U.S. government, which also funds Pepfar (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, focused on Africa), is the largest contributor to the Global Fund. Other promised donations announced today included $815 million from Germany, $800 million from Japan, $612 million from Canada and $500 million more from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
It sounds like a lot of money and most are celebrating this as a major step forward. The support has prompted pundits and experts to again talk about being at a ‘tipping point’ in the HIV/AIDS pandemic, of someday soon creating an ‘AIDS-free generation.’
There has been a lot of progress made against AIDS and malaria, and to some extent TB, which shouldn’t be minimized. But it’s important to put this all in context and face some harsh realities. Continue reading