Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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HIV epidemics driven by drug use set to spread due to Global Fund rule

8
MAY
2012

Alexey takes a HIV rapid test at an outreach clinic in Cherkassy, Ukraine © the Alliance

The Alliance is warning of an impending HIV/AIDS crisis in Eastern Europe and Asia following its assessment of the impact of the cancellation of Global Fund Round 11 funding.

We are urging the Global Fund Board – who are meeting this week - to revoke its ‘55% rule’ which limits funding for middle income countries, despite many being identified by UNAIDS as having a high burden of HIV among people who inject drugs.

A crisis for the Global Fund is a crisis for harm reduction

The Global Fund has rapidly become the largest donor of HIV and harm reduction programmes targeting people who inject drugs, according our new report HIV, Drug Use and the Global Fund: Don’t Stop Now!. Susie McLean, Senior Adviser: HIV and Drug Use at the Alliance (and report author) said: “The total investment in Rounds 1 to 10 in HIV and drug use programmes is $582 million and represents a major breakthrough in the history of HIV and harm reduction programming.

“This is in stark contrast with the low amount of bilaterial aid for harm reduction programmes targeting people who inject drugs. The UK, along with other donor governments, are increasingly reducing the countries they wish to fund, and national governments are unlikely to fill the gap whilst harm reduction programming remains so unpopular. That’s why a crisis for the Global Fund is a crisis for harm reduction,” she said.

“The Global Fund is key to reaching the UN target of reducing HIV transmission among people who inject drugs by 50% by 2015.  However, given the high levels of HIV and drug use in middle income countries, the 55% rule is a major threat to future funding for harm reduction and the Alliance is urging the Global Fund board to revoke it immediately,” McLean added.

The impact of Global Fund cuts

HIV, Drug Use and the Global Fund reviews what has been achieved through Global Fund investment in Ukraine, and reports on the impact of the cuts in China and Viet Nam.

In Viet Nam the scale up of their national needle and syringe programme which has been successfully piloted since 2009 was dependent on a successful Round 11 application and whilst the Chinese government has pledged to fill the gap following the removal of the Global Fund, community members are concerned about whether they will adopt a similar harm reduction approach.

The report underlines the extreme stigmatisation of people who use drugs and the resulting controversies surrounding harm reduction services, such as the re-instatement by the US government of a ban on needle exchange funding.

It highlights how most countries with a high burden of HIV among people who inject drugs are now classified as middle income countries and how the Global Fund’s new 55% rule which limits funding for these countries will halt  the scale-up of HIV and drug use programmes.

You can view or download the report here. You can also read more about the issues in this Policy Briefing: The Global Fund and its support for Middle Income Countries.

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