Cuts to Global Fund point to need for alternative funding mechanisms such as the Financial Transaction Tax

TORONTO, Nov. 28, 2011 /CNW/ - Outright reversal of the AIDS epidemic is within the collective grasp of the global community, but the opportunity may be lost, says Dignitas International.

The recent decision forced upon the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria to cancel its eleventh round of funding threatens to derail the progress made to date.

According to UNAIDS, to continue the gains seen over the last decade, annual funding must actually increase from US $15 billion to US $24 billion by 2015 in order to ensure all those who need AIDS treatment get it. Today, less than half of those living in low and middle-income countries are receiving treatment.

The opposite is happening.  The international community has scaled back its global health funding over the last two years, blaming the continuing international financial crisis. Dignitas believes that alternate and effective measures, such as the Financial Transaction Tax, are necessary to remove global health funding decisions from the political realm, and would ensure sustainable and effective funding at meaningful levels.

"We are deeply concerned about how the cancellation of Round 11 will affect the ability of ministries of health to provide treatment for their populations. Through our work, we've seen first-hand that when HIV-positive patients have access to proper health care, they are able to return to productive roles in their communities.  The Global Fund has enabled millions of people living with HIV to regain their health and dignity, and to economically contribute to their households.  This funding cut threatens the lives and well-being of millions," according to James Fraser, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Dignitas International.

According to the UNAIDS 2011 World AIDS Report, the number of new infections declined by 21% between 1997 and 2010.  A total of 2.5 million deaths in low and middle-income countries have been averted as a result of the introduction of antiretroviral treatment.  Steady progress has been achieved in large part due to the establishment of the Global Fund.

As a Canadian-based medical humanitarian organization working for the past seven years in Malawi, Dignitas International has effectively brought HIV/AIDS treatment to rural communities and introduced training and innovations for a more efficient and responsive health system. Established in 2004 by Dr. James Orbinski and James Fraser, the organization provides frontline medical care and engages in high-impact research to eliminate barriers to treatment and build the capacity of local health workers to treat HIV/AIDS and related conditions, including tuberculosis, and malaria.

SOURCE Dignitas International

For further information:

For media relations, please contact:
Rekha Sadasivan, Development Communications Coordinator
T: 416.260.3100, x104  | E: r.sadasivan@dignitasinternational.org

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Dignitas International

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