World AIDS Day Media is Critical
World AIDS Day media is critical this year (editorials, opeds, LTEs, on-line pieces)! Below are some critical developments at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria (GFATM) and a description of their consequences for people desperately awaiting life saving treatment for the three diseases. Also below are some resources to assist you in your outreach. WE NEED YOUR MEDIA as World AIDS Day approaches and following World AIDS Day if we are going to really make progress toward the end of AIDS.
- Editorial Packet (second entry)
- Capwiz LTE too: Background: In short, due to lack of resources for funding new proposals, the Board of the GFATM voted at its 25th meeting in Accra last week to cancel the new funding round launched last spring-Round 11; this is the first move of its kind in the GFATM’s history. The lack of funding was primarily due to weak donor showing at the 3rd replenishment of the GFATM held in New York in October 2010, as well as delays and failures of donors not honoring pledges they had made in New York or earlier. This includes concern that the US might not fulfill its three-year $4 billion pledge. With the next replenishment slated for late 2013 (covering disbursements from 2014 to 2016), countries are faced with the prospect of no additional GFATM resources for scale-up for at least the next two years. Without more resources urgently, including fulfilling the full US $4 billion pledge, there will only be funding for continuation of programs facing severe risk of disruption, with no new funding opportunity between now and 2014.
We need to call for the US to fulfill its $4 billion three year pledge to the GFATM. This means Congress supporting the highest possible funding for the GFATM in the FY 2012 budget (ideally the administration’s request, but at least not cutting funding), and the President committing to fully delivering the rest of the $4 billion as a priority in his budget for 2013.
The consequences of Round 11 cancellation are indeed dire, as is the precedent that it sets. MSF (Medicins Sans Frontiers, or Doctors Without Borders) reports that in countries where it works, the impact will become apparent all too quickly (see below for link to MSF’s briefing) on :
- In Mozambique, funding problems have already prevented the country from providing earlier treatment and better drugs, per WHO-recommended guidelines.
- Malawi will be forced to put on hold scale-up of earlier and life-long treatment for all HIV-positive pregnant women to not only protect their babies, but keep themselves healthy.
- Kenya, Lesotho, and South Africa, had already been told by the Global Fund that they weren’t eligible to apply for funding from Round 11 because of lacking funding. In those countries, HIV treatment coverage lies at 52 percent, 66 percent and 49 percent, respectively.
- Cameroon and Zimbabwe are facing shortfalls in the near future to support people already on treatment
- In the Democratic Republic of Congo will be forced to severely cap the number of people able to start on life-saving HIV treatment.
Worse, the donor’s failure to sufficiently fund the GFATM comes at a time when we are poised to make the greatest gains against the three epidemics. In the case of HIV/AIDS, research released just this year has shown that HIV positive individuals on ARV treatment are up to 96% percent less likely to pass HIV onto their partners. By engaging in an aggressive scale up of treatment as prevention, research tells just that we now have the tools to end AIDS within a generation. And modeling by Stop TB shows that we can reduce TB-HIV deaths by 80% by 2015.
The latest data from UNAIDS (see a link to their press release below), now shows that AIDS-related deaths have fallen to their lowest since the peak of the epidemic, primarily due to access to life-saving antiretroviral treatment globally. The GFATM was in large part responsible for scaling up the number of people on antiretroviral treatment from 100,000 in 2003 to more than 6.6 million today. Still, more than 8 million are still awaiting treatment today (less than half of HIV positive women have access to it), and the number of HIV infections remains high.
Jeffrey Sachs, special advisory to UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, has been especially vocal about the news of Round 11’s cancellation, saying, “we cannot afford to lose ground just when the beginning of the end of AIDS is in sight.” See the link to his piece in the Huffington Post below as well.
This critical funding shortfall has been caused by other donors pulling back and the U.S. not fulfilling its $4 Billion pledge for FY2011- FY2013. Other countries continue to look to the U.S. to lead on this. Our job as advocates is to keep up the pressure, especially in the media right now. At the beginning of the month, Sec. Clinton called for an “AIDS-free Generation” and made official U.S. policy to achieve that. We have to push the administration to make a bolder commitment this World AIDS Day. Continuing to get Editorials, Op-Eds, and LTEs on this will be key to holding the U.S. government accountable and key to making sure the Global Fund is able to reach the those most in need.
Joanne’s blog post and press statement on the Global Fund:
Link to UNAIDS press release:
Link to Jeffrey Sachs piece in Washington Post:
Link to MSF’s briefing on AIDS advances being held back by donor funding: http://www.msfaccess.org/content/reversing-aids-how-advances-are-being-held-back-funding-shortages
Link to ACTION press release: