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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
ITALY: 'Funding Gap' Imperils Science Exploits, AIDS Forum

July 21, 2011
Agence France Presse (07.19.11) - Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lack of funding remains one of the greatest obstacles to implementing highly effective HIV prevention interventions, experts said in Rome at the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention.

Studies presented at the conference showed the power of HIV drugs in preventing new infections. Nonetheless, the funding gap imperils the chances of employing "treatment as prevention," pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and male circumcision - which can reduce the risk of female-to-male HIV infection about 60 percent - on a wider basis.

Between 2001 and 2009, AIDS funding for developing countries grew nearly 10-fold, from $1.6 billion annually to $15.9 billion. However, funding declined in 2010 as Western nations responded to the global financial crisis. While about 6.6 million people are on antiretroviral therapy, another 9 million still need treatment. Accomplishing this by 2015 will require $22 billion to $24 billion annually.

New money could come from innovative levies and from tapping the resources of oil-rich nations and emerging economic giants such as China and India, advocates said. However, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has had little success opening up these new sources, acknowledged Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine.

"We are in dangerous times for AIDS funding," said Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical School of Medicine and the former head of UNAIDS. "Science is running much faster now than what we can implement and what we can pay for."

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