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 Sunday 15 July 2007
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AFRICA: G8 countries must invest more to achieve universal access targets - UNAIDS

Photo: Kristy Siegfried/IRIN
The G8 leaders committed to universal access by 2010
JOHANNESBURG, 7 June 2007 (PlusNews) - Commitments on universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care by leaders of the G8, the grouping of the world's richest countries, will not be met without additional resources, UNAIDS has warned.

Although international assistance from the G8 has reached its highest level ever, at US $5.6 billion, the target of universal access by 2010 made at the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005 was in jeopardy.

"While the G8 leaders meet in Germany over three days, an estimated 33,000 people will be newly infected with HIV and nearly 24,000 people will die from AIDS-related illnesses," UNAIDS said in a press release. "AIDS must be a top priority for the G8 this year and every year - in commitments and in action."

The German coastal resort of Heiligendamm is hosting a G8 summit where some delegates feel AIDS has been sidelined in favour of emerging issues like climate change.

In a report on international assistance for HIV in 2006, UNAIDS noted that while donor funding for the pandemic had increased significantly, there remained a financing gap of $6 billion - a deficit "that could even grow larger over the next few years".

On Wednesday, the Zambian National AIDS Network said certain delegations within the G8 were urging the establishment of a new lower target of 50 percent coverage, a sharp contrast to 2005 pledges towards "universal access", defined by UNAIDS as 80 percent coverage.

The newly appointed United Nations Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa and ZNAN executive director, Elizabeth Mataka, told IRIN/PlusNews the possible reductions in the G8 targets were "a very real fear".


Theme(s): (IRIN) Aid Policy, (IRIN) Care/Treatment - PlusNews, (IRIN) HIV/AIDS (PlusNews), (IRIN) Prevention - PlusNews


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
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This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States. Republication is subject to terms and conditions as set out in the IRIN copyright page.