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Declines in Number Of People Living With HIV Witnessed In Some Countries

21 November 2006

More Resources Required to Expand Successful Global Efforts

Geneva - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria welcomes the new UNAIDS/WHO "2006 AIDS Epidemic Update," which indicates that HIV prevalence has declined significantly in a number of African countries and that increased access to antiretroviral AIDS treatment has led to millions of additional years of healthy life. However, the global epidemic continued to grow in 2006, with more than four million new infections and nearly three million deaths.

"This report clearly shows that national and global efforts have led to vital progress in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic. But that progress is still too slow and too limited," said Professor Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund. "This should serve as a clarion call to the global community to take our investments and commitment to the next level".

The report also highlights the expanding burden of HIV/AIDS outside sub-Saharan Africa, which continues to be the center of the pandemic. Infection levels grew in almost every region of the world, particularly in East Asia and Eastern Europe and Central Asia where the number of new infections has increased by one-fifth over the past two years.

"We must ensure we look at the pandemic through a truly global lens," continued Professor Feachem. "We have a unique opportunity to prevent epidemics in Asia and Eastern Europe - especially the giants of China, India and Russia - from reaching catastrophic levels. But that opportunity is shrinking with each passing year".

The Global Fund is one of the world's predominant financiers of the fight against HIV/AIDS, with more than US$ 3.7 billion committed to scaling up prevention, care, and treatment efforts in120 countries. While the majority of the Global Fund’s investments are to sub-Saharan Africa, it has committed significant resources throughout Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and other regions.

By June this year, Global Fund-financed programs had provided antiretroviral treatment to more than 550,000 people living with AIDS, tested and counseled 5.7 million people for HIV - a critical step to both preventing and treating the disease - and provided essential care and support to 560,000 orphans. (Updated treatment figures will be released by 1 December 2006).

Earlier this month, the Global Fund's Board committed to launching a new round of grants in March 2007 to further increase the organization’s financial support for AIDS, TB and malaria programs.

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