The Board of Directors of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria recently voted to authorize a new call for proposals in 2010, the success of which will ultimately depend on whether donors commit to fully funding the Global Fund. Without adequate funding, the progress and pace of scale-up of lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment, particularly antiretroviral therapy (ART), supported by the Global Fund will be threatened.
"We are pleased that the Global Fund remains open for business in 2010. Now donors must provide funding given that the Global Fund is the best chance for many countries to scale-up HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria programs," says Sharonann Lynch, HIV/AIDS Policy Advisor for the Access to Essential Medicines Campaign of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). "Now, at a time when other international actors are reducing their support for lifesaving antiretroviral therapy, it is more important than ever that donors support a fully-funded Global Fund."
In a report released earlier this month, “Punishing Success?” MSF highlighted early signs of a retreat from the commitment to universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment in poor countries. Most worrying were signs that the Global Fund and the US President’s Emergency Plans for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the two main funders of HIV/AIDS treatment programs in the world, were not keeping pace with need.
Just prior to the Global Fund’s decision, there was increasing international media coverage in publications such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, of the debates surrounding funding for HIV/AIDS as well as the impact reduced funding is starting to have on AIDS treatment in the developing world.
With over four million people receiving ART, and an estimated six million people still in need of treatment, a reduction in funding at this time would result in premature deaths and lead to life threatening interruptions of treatment.