UNITED NATIONS (AP) -The U.N. envoy charged with combating AIDS
in Africa warned that the failure of wealthy nations to respond
to an appeal for $200 million could sabotage plans to provide 3
million HIV-infected people with drugs by the end of 2005.
Stephen Lewis, the secretary-general's special envoy for HIV/AIDS
on the continent, said the plan offers "the best chance we've had
in more than 20 years to turn the pandemic around," but the
abysmal donor response means there isn't money to implement it.
The World Health Organizations needs the $200 million to train
100,000 people, establish supply lines, and upgrade health
systems so the 3 million sufferers can get drugs before 2005 ends
under the so-called "3 by 5 plan," he said Wednesday.
"There has never been a more determined plan of action," Lewis
said. "If 3 by 5 fails, as it surely will without the dollars,
then there are no excuses left, no rationalizations to hide
behind, no murky slanders to justify indifference. There will
only be the mass graves of the betrayed."
So far, he said, only Britain, Spain and Sweden have indicated "a
willingness to consider some relatively modest sum."
He said he has not been able to determine why the response has
been so poor.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a
group of the world's 30 richest countries, has "to cough up the
money," Lewis said. "No one is exempt."
"Twenty million people are already dead, 3 million people are
begging for the right to cling to life, another 3 million are
behind them, and millions more after that -and we can't raise
one-tenth of 1% of what we're spending on war and reconstruction
in Iraq and Afghanistan, to break the back of the pandemic,"
"How do we explain it to the generations of the future?"
Virtually every African country with medium to high prevalence
rates of HIV/AIDS has a treatment plan in place and has done some
training, and many have some outside money, Lewis said.
"What they need is exactly what the World Health Organization can
provide: the capacity to give overall coordination and direction
so that the treatment regimens succeed," he said.
"It would be the first time the world could thumb its nose at the
But Lewis said without adequate resources to put a universal
treatment plan in place, millions of sufferers face "a death