Millions of people will now have to go without HIV services and many may die waiting for treatment as a result of the funding cuts the Global Fund has had to make, according to the Alliance’s report, ‘Don’t Stop Now’. You can download the report here.
Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director of the Alliance said: “The Global Fund’s achievements are one of the greatest triumphs of the HIV/AIDS response and we should be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this month. Instead, these cuts will have dramatic consequences for country HIV responses. In South Sudan 80 per cent of its national AIDS plan remains unfunded and in Zambia an estimated 131,971 people in need of life saving treatment will not have access.
“We are already seeing the impact at the Alliance. In 40 per cent of the countries we work in, partners are faced with cutting critical HIV prevention, treatment and care services. This will affect over 1.5 million people. If this is the impact for the Alliance and it is the tip of the iceberg, it raises serious questions about the impact globally,” he added.
The hardest hit
‘Don’t Stop Now’ reviews the impact of the cuts in five countries that will be particularly hard hit: Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Sudan, Bangladesh and Bolivia.
The report highlights that groups most affected by HIV are likely to be hit hardest. Sex workers, men who have sex with men and people who use drugs are populations that have traditionally struggled to access HIV funding as many governments are often unwilling to spend money on groups whose practices are often unpopular and/or criminalised. The Global Fund has traditionally been the main sources of funding for HIV services reaching these groups.
In Bangladesh the 20 per cent planned increase in coverage of HIV services for most affected groups such as sex workers and men who have sex with men will not now be possible and in Bolivia lack of funds to expand prevention services means increased rates of HIV transmission amongst these populations.
Other important services including legal assistance, care and support services, psychosocial and nutritional programmes will be seriously affected by the cuts. They are critical for people to get tested, access treatment and live a positive healthy life with HIV.
“After 30 years our joint efforts were turning the HIV epidemic around and for the first time it became conceivable to plan for a world without AIDS. But in just a few short months the situation looks very different and we are in serious danger of losing the gains made. We urgently need donors to replenish the Global Fund and for national governments to step up and deliver funding for their HIV/AIDS response or we face a collective responsibility of failing the weakest in our society and betraying the promises that were made to the families and people affected by HIV around the world,” Bermejo said.