HIV projects under acute threat

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MSF: Acute threats to HIV projects in Africa.

(May 28, 2010) The organization "Doctors Without Borders" warns of the dramatic health consequences in the treatment of HIV patients (AIDS) in Africa because donor countries are implementing their massive financial cuts. The withdrawal of the donor countries is undermining all successes in the fight against AIDS, said Mit Philips, spokeswoman for the aid organization. For example, spending on the "PEPFAR" program was cut by the USA for the years 2009/2010 and the overall budget was frozen. The largest financing program, "Global Funds", is also facing a massive financial deficit. In 2009 and 2010, already approved country grants were cut by 8 to 12 percent. The result: In the African Congo, the number of new patients for antiretroviral therapy had to be reduced by a sixth.

"9 million HIV patients worldwide urgently need treatment and still have no access to life-saving medicines," warned Mit Philips in Johannesburg. "How can we give up the fight halfway and pretend the crisis is over!"

The situation in Africa remains catastrophic. In the Kingdom of Swaziland, for example, more than 170,000 of the approximately 1.1 million inhabitants are infected with the HIV virus. This means that every fourth adult is already infected with the deadly virus. Every year, around 9,000 people die in the small African country from the consequences of the immunodeficiency disease AIDS. Around 20 percent of all people on the African continent are infected with HIV. (sb)

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