UK pledge raises world’s ambition on AIDS

Zambia_Lackson-and-his-smiling-motherUK support to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria could get an additional 735,000 people onto lifesaving HIV treatment across the developing world by 2016, following an announcement which campaigners say has set the world the challenge of raising its ambition towards finally defeating AIDS – as well as TB and malaria.

The pledge of £1bn over the next three years equates to a doubling of the UK contribution to the Global Fund, a collaboration between northern and southern governments, the private sector, NGOs and people affected by the three diseases, which has saved nearly 9 million lives in a decade. However the £1bn pledge will only be delivered in full if the Global Fund achieves its overall replenishment target of $15bn.

The commitment from the UK throws down the gauntlet to other donor countries, like Germany, Australia and Japan to dramatically increase their contributions so the Global Fund can secure the $15bn it says could tip the balance in the three epidemics.

The ambition of the UK commitment matches that shown by the Obama administration, which has pledged $1.65bn for 2014 alone. If the total generated is less than $15bn the UK says it will give 10% of the total number pledged.

STOPAIDS spokesperson Diarmaid McDonald said:

“STOPAIDS have been working for many years, with many others to secure this commitment and we see it as an incredible statement of ambition from the government – one which the world will celebrate. The UK’s leadership in international development gives the nation the opportunity to achieve some truly historic things, and this lifesaving commitment to the Global Fund is just that – historic.

“By building on the successes we’ve had to date, scaling up the latest, smartest interventions, we have an opportunity to tip the balance in the AIDS, TB and malaria epidemics, saving the lives of millions.  But that opportunity won’t last forever – delay and the numbers affected will creep up and the ambition to control the epidemics will be put back out of reach. The Global Fund must secure $15bn from the world to seize this chance.

“By tying their £1bn commitment to the overall total raised the UK have firmly put the spotlight on other donors. Whilst we hope that the commitment to giving 10% of the total is a floor rather than a ceiling, the responsibility is now on the leaders of Germany, Australia and Japan to act. The UK has shown it has the ambition to seize the opportunity we have to bring AIDS under control – the rest of the world must rise to the challenge.”