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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
GLOBAL: Taxes Could Fill AIDS Funding Crunch: UN
Aaron Maasho
December 8, 2011
Reuters (12.07.11) - Thursday, December 08, 2011

A decline in donor contributions to global HIV funding due to financial and debt crises risks setting back the campaign for years, the head of UNAIDS warned Wednesday. However, this should spur innovation in the funding mechanisms and leadership among aid recipients, Michel Sidibe said during the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"It is not the time to stop, to reverse all this achievement," said Sidibe, noting falling incidence rates and expanding treatment access. "The financial crisis is there ... but when we have a financial crisis we need to be innovative." Annual HIV/AIDS program spending fell from $15.9 billion in 2009 to $15 billion in 2010. UNAIDS estimates an effective global response by 2015 would require $22 billion-$24 billion annually.

"If we have a global financial transaction tax, say of 0.5 percent, we will have $226 billion." Sidibe said. "Ten percent of that resource is enough for financing the fight against HIV/AIDS, stopping the epidemic, because we can reduce by 96 percent the number of new infections by putting people early on treatment. We can have taxation of cigarettes and alcohol. We can find different ways to mobilize new resources." "Sustainability and particularly reducing dependency, making sure that African leaders are taking responsibility to initiate a new discussion around treatment and [the] AIDS financing crisis in Africa, those for me will be the most important messages to come out from Addis Ababa," Sidibe said.

Ahead of the conference, in a statement aimed at his domestic audience, former President George W. Bush said, "It's essential our country not retreat from the world; it's essential that we continue to show our compassion by funding programs that work."

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