Thursday, 1 December 2011

World AIDS Day with little to celebrate

Malawi has joined many other nations in committing to the UN's Getting to Zero campaign for World AIDS Day. The campaign promotes three goals: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths. Malawi has been struggling with medication shortages since before the protests - and one of the reasons for the protests - in July. And this World AIDS Day happens in the context of a massive anticipated funding shortage due to Global Fund woes.

Getting to Zero might be a noble goal, but in the context of disappearing funding,  poor access to medication and what looks a lot like flagging international political will to fight HIV/AIDS, it seems unlikely. More than a third of the world's HIV positive people live in Southern Africa. This region cannot cope with the disease burden alone. Malawi cannot afford to supply AIDS drugs to everyone who needs them, even if they spent their health budget on nothing else. South Africans go to funerals every weekend. In Lesotho, 1 in 4 children is an orphan. The DRC caps the number of people who are eligible for treatment.

This region is dying and the world is watching. Read more about the Global Fund cuts.

Also, an excellent piece by Dr Francios Venter at the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute on why Southern Africa keeps getting HIV.

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