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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
AFRICA: Economic Crisis a 'Major Threat' to AIDS Fight in

July 2, 2009
Agence France Presse (07.02.09) - Thursday, July 02, 2009

Speaking today on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Libya, UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibe called the global economic crisis "a major threat that could drive aid mechanisms toward collapse." He noted that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has a $4 billion deficit, and "if the fund doesn't remain solvent, sick people will start dying within six months." Sidibe said 96 percent of Africans receiving treatment for AIDS are dependent upon wealthy nations for that treatment; meanwhile, 6 million Africans with AIDS are waiting for medication. Sidibe views with hope the presidency of new South African leader Jacob Zuma, who has promised to make fighting AIDS a priority. The man he replaced, Thabo Mbeki, was criticized as an AIDS denialist who delayed the roll-out of national efforts to distribute HIV drugs.