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World Financial Crisis and AIDS Backlash Threaten Lives
Date:7/7/2009

KAMPALA, Uganda and NAIROBI, Kenya and DELHI, India, July 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the eve of the G8 Summit in Italy, the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) calls on leaders of the world's richest countries to announce significant additional funds to ensure that AIDS treatment and prevention programs for millions of men, women and children do not become a casualty of the economic down-turn.

"Cutting funds for HIV programs would be a clear disaster for the four million people already on treatment, the seven million people who need treatment and millions more who need effective HIV prevention programmes," said Aditi Sharma, coordinator of the Treatment Monitoring and Advocacy Project of ITPC. "We call on the G8 to commit their fair share towards meeting the Universal Access target -- a first step would be to plug the $5 billion funding gap for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria."

Reacting to a new report from UNAIDS and the World Bank(1), which found that the global economic crisis has already disrupted AIDS treatment programmes in eight countries and is expected to impact programs in an additional 21 countries by the end of this year, activists from around the world called on all governments to ensure sustained funding for HIV programmes and put in place early warning systems that alert them to impending drug stock-outs and treatment interruptions.

"Let us be completely clear about what this report is saying," said Gregg Gonsalves, co-founder of ITPC. "People living with HIV/AIDS, who are now receiving treatment, are in danger of losing their drugs because of cutbacks and funding reallocations. Many of those people will die. We cannot allow AIDS backlash or the current economic situation to be used as excuses for failing to meet commitments."

"We must continue to scale up and sustain AIDS treatment and prevention programmes in Eastern African countries,
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SOURCE International Treatment Preparedness Coalition
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