Will fund­ing short­falls de­rail HIV gains?

The Manica Post - - Health/religion -

PARIS, France. — HIV ex­perts joined forces in an of­fi­cial Press con­fer­ence at the 9th IAS Con­fer­ence on HIV Sci­ence ( IAS 2017) on Sun­day to is­sue a strong call for a re­newed global com­mit­ment to fund­ing for HIV re­search and pro­grammes, high­light­ing the re­turn on in­vest­ment for gov­ern­ments, com­mu­ni­ties and the pri­vate sec­tor.

IAS 2017 takes place in the con­text of re­cent de­clines in global HIV fund­ing and as ma­jor gov­ern­ment donors are ei­ther call­ing for or con­sid­er­ing fur­ther cuts to sci­en­tific re­search fund­ing.

De­cline

A re­cently re­leased re­port from UNAIDS and the Kaiser Fam­ily Foun- da­tion found that Gov­ern­ment fund­ing for HIV fell for the sec­ond year in a row in 2016, de­clin­ing seven per­cent over the pre­vi­ous year. In cur­rent US dol­lars, this brings dis­burse­ments to their low­est level since 2010.

Ad­di­tion­ally, a new AVAC re­port found that fund­ing for HIV preven­tion Re­search and Devel­op­ment in 2016 de­creased by three per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year, the low­est an­nual in­vest­ment in more than a decade.

US ef­fect

The US – the largest donor in the world’s HIV re­sponse – is threat­en­ing dev­as­tat­ing fund­ing cuts for re­search and treat­ment pro­grammes. am­fAR and AVAC re­cently fore­cast that pro­posed US fund­ing cuts, if fully en­acted, would re­sult in more than one mil­lion HIV treat­ment dis­rup­tions and nearly 150 000 AIDS- re­lated deaths.

“Cur­rent at­tacks on HIV re­search fund­ing threaten to stall or undo re­cent progress,” Linda- Gail Bekker, the Pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional AIDS So­ci­ety ( IAS) and In­ter­na­tional Sci­en­tific Chair of IAS 2017, said.

“Through in­vest­ments like PEP­FAR, we have seen what can be achieved when na­tions and donors come to­gether to di­rect mean­ing­ful re­sources to­ward so­lu­tions. PEP­FAR has sig­nif­i­cantly im­pacted the global HIV epi­demic.”

The ex­pert panel in­cluded: Gre­go­rio Mil­lett, Vice-pres­i­dent and Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pol­icy at am­fAR, who dis­cussed the real- world im­pact of po­ten­tial fund­ing cuts; Solange Bap­tiste, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the In­ter­na­tional Treat­ment Pre­pared­ness Coali­tion ( ITPC Global), who spoke about why com­mu­nity in­vest­ment and strength­en­ing is crit­i­cal; Charles Lyons, Pres­i­dent and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of the El­iz­a­beth Glaser Pae­di­atric AIDS Foun­da­tion, who pro­vided the per­spec­tive of an or­gan­i­sa­tion im­ple­ment­ing HIV pro­grammes; and Chris­tine Lu­bin­ski, Vice Pres­i­dent for Global Health at the In­fec­tious Dis­eases So­ci­ety of Amer­ica, who un­der­scored the need for con­tin­ued re­search in­vest­ments to bet­ter un­der­stand and re­spond to the epi­demic. — IAS

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