US Promises To Add An Additional $150 Million To Help Combat AIDS
Well it’s about damn time…
Science now has the tools to slash the spread of HIV even without a vaccine — and the U.S. is donating an extra $150 million to help poor countries put them in place, the Obama administration told the world’s largest AIDS conference Monday. “We want to get to the end of AIDS,” declared the top U.S. HIV researcher, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health.
How long it takes depends on how quickly the world can adopt those tools, he said — including getting more of the millions of untreated people onto life-saving drugs that come with the bonus of keeping them from infecting others. “No promises, no dates, but we know it can happen,” Fauci told the International AIDS Conference. Some 34.2 million people worldwide are living with HIV, and 2.5 million were infected last year.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the goal is an AIDS-free generation. That would mean no babies would be born infected, young people would have a much lower risk than today of becoming infected and people who already have HIV would receive life-saving drugs so they wouldn’t develop AIDS or spread the virus.
“I am here today to make it absolutely clear the U.S. is committed and will remain committed to achieving an AIDS-free generation,” Clinton told the more than 20,000 scientists, people living with HIV and policymakers assembled for the conference. “If we’re going to beat AIDS, we can’t afford to avoid sensitive conversations, and we can’t afford not to reach the people who are at the highest risk,” she said. So the U.S. will spend an additional $15 million on research to identify the best HIV prevention tools to reach those key populations in different countries, and then launch a $20 million challenge fund to support country-led efforts to implement that science.
Money is a big challenge during a global recession — and for countries weary of the fight against a disease with an ever-growing number of people who need care. The world spent $16.8 billion fighting AIDS in poor countries, the hardest-hit, last year. But that’s still $7 billion a year shy of the amount needed to nearly double the 8 million people getting life-saving drugs by the world’s goal of 2015.