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G8 Members To Announce Plans To Increase HIV/AIDS Spending at Summit

Members of the Group of Eight industrialized nations plan to unveil their commitments to increase spending for fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic during their upcoming 2007 summit , which is scheduled to be held next week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesperson, Ulrich Wilhelm, said at a news conference on Wednesday, Reuters reports. Wilhelm said details of the spending commitments would be announced during the summit.

"Germany, like other G8 member states, will increase the resources devoted to combating AIDS," Wilhelm added. In response to President Bush's announcement on Wednesday that he is asking Congress for a $30 billion, five-year extension of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Wilhelm said, "That's an important and very interesting initiative." He added, "It's obvious that this is a very important subject -- with Africa as the priority area. The discussion is going to center on what framework we'll use to increase our efforts as well as our financial support for combating AIDS".

According to a draft of the summit's agenda, G8 leaders also plan to increase commitments aimed at strengthening health infrastructures in African countries, the Kyodo News reports. The document says that leaders plan to increase their efforts to meet the goal of providing Africans with universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care programs by 2010, the Kyodo News reports.

The draft document also says that member countries will work with donors and "contribute to ensure that multiyear funding based on ambitious but realistic targets is made available" to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In addition, G8 leaders said they plan to reaffirm their pledges to support African countries in their efforts to reach the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.

UNAIDS estimates indicate that global funding for HIV/AIDS efforts will increase to about $10 billion in 2007 from about $8.9 billion last
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