$400m for re­gional cam­paign

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -

THE $400 mil­lion in ad­di­tional aid to fight HIV-AIDS in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, an­nounced this week by For­eign Min­is­ter Alexan­der Downer, will be used to im­prove pre­ven­tion and treat­ment in some of Aus­tralia’s clos­est neigh­bours.

The ex­tra money will take Aus­tralia’s com­mit­ment to anti-HIV pro­grams over­seas to $1 bil­lion by 2010.

An es­ti­mated 7100 peo­ple in Ocea­nia ac­quired HIV in 2006, bring­ing to 81,000 the num­ber liv­ing with the virus. But by 2025 ex­perts pre­dict that with­out as­sis­tance, HIV will kill 300,000 peo­ple in PNG and 1.5 mil­lion in In­done­sia.

‘‘ Nearly 40 mil­lion peo­ple are liv­ing with HIV glob­ally, and 8.6 mil­lion of th­ese live in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion,’’ Downer said in an­nounc­ing the ex­tra cash.

A spokesper­son said the strained re­la­tions be­tween Aus­tralia and PNG would not im­pede the pro­vi­sion of the money.

Pro­grams will fo­cus on HIV ed­u­ca­tion and strate­gies for pre­vent­ing in­fec­tion, in­clud­ing dis­tri­bu­tion of con­doms. A spokesper­son for AusAID con­firmed that the agency is work­ing with re­gional part­ners to de­velop and de­liver ap­pro­pri­ate projects. Leigh Day­ton

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