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Global Fund calls for urgent worldwide financial support to drastically scale up treatment for AIDS

01 December 2003

Geneva, Switzerland – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria today calls for urgent financing worldwide to drastically scale up treatment for AIDS.

We welcome the World Health Organisation’s strategy and treatment guidelines aimed at putting three million people on antiretroviral treatment for AIDS by 2005, which is launched today. The Global Fund itself is committed to playing a major part in funding and supporting this effort.

“This World AIDS Day 2003, the Global Fund stands committed to its goals of being a major financial mechanism to provide resources for prevention and care programs for HIV/AIDS around the world,” says Dr Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund.

The Global Fund welcomes grant proposals to finance programs to substantially scale up AIDS treatment in all countries which cannot finance such programs from their own resources. The Global Fund also finances large countries with significant HIV burdens like South Africa, India and China. The Global Fund urges these countries to take the lead in making the provision of antiretroviral treatments available to larger numbers of patients, and also to step up national HIV prevention programs.

Control of the AIDS pandemic will require substantial commitment from all, from donors to provide the resources and from burdened nations to demonstrate the capacity and will to utilize these resources. The world’s collective success in the fight against HIV/AIDS will depend on both.

Of particular concern are the emerging epidemics in South and East Asia and the Russian Federation. Several countries including India, Russia and Vietnam face the possibility of a serious epidemic as HIV prevalence spreads rapidly from sex workers and injecting drug users to other vulnerable populations. Similar vectors, exacerbated by violent social change and growing drug-trafficking across the region are driving drastically rising rates of infection in countries like Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The Global Fund is a leading financer of prevention programs in these areas with emerging epidemics. “We have seen a cycle of ignorance, denial, delay and finally panic in a number of countries which are now paying the price in the form of devastating epidemics,” says Dr Feachem. “We need to arrest this pattern to prevent a catastrophe from happening in areas of newly emerging epidemics.”

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