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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Will gains made on TB and HIV be lost?

29
MAR
2012

Aids Alliance

The urgent need to address TB and HIV was highlighted by the Alliance on World TB Day this year (24 March).

TB is the most common cause of death for people living with HIV with a quarter of HIV positive people dying from TB.

World TB Day

To mark World TB Day the Alliance worked with RESULTS UK and the Stop AIDS Campaign to highlight the problem that a reduction in funding for the Global Fund is having on our ability to tackle HIV and TB.

With the cancellation of Global Fund Round 11, many TB and HIV programs will no longer have the resources to expand their work. The Global Fund currently provides nearly a quarter of all international funding to fight AIDS, and more than four-fifths of funding to fight TB.

The Alliance along with RESULTS UK and Stop AIDS Campaign are calling on the UK government to join other donors and hold an emergency replenishment meeting for the Global Fund at the forthcoming G20 meeting in Mexico in June 2012.

Advances under threat

Dr Gitau Mburu, the Alliance’s senior advisor on HIV and TB said: “We have made tremendous gains in saving the lives of people co-infected with HIV and TB.

“For example in Zambia, one of the poorest African countries, 47% of HIV positive TB patients are now receiving HIV medication alongside their TB treatment. But this is threatened. We must maintain the momentum to put more people on life saving treatment, not only in Zambia, but globally.

“Let’s not forget that 50% of people in the world who need treatment for HIV are still unable to access it. Donors must step up and replenish the Global Fund to ensure services reach all those who need them.”

Over the next five years the US$1.7bn reduction in funding to tackle TB will affect the treatment of 3.4 million TB patients. The effect is devastating and could reverse the gains that have been made in tackling the disease.

Aaron Oxley, Executive Director of RESULTS UK said: “Thanks to sustained efforts from the Global Fund, TB cases have been in decline but with the current lack of resources there is scope for severe backsliding on the progress we have made. This is disappointing and worrying news as we have a real chance of seeing an end to TB in our lifetime.”

A joint briefing paper was issued by the three organisations to outline the scale of the problem.

What it could mean

Mr Michael Gwaba, a TB-HIV Patient-Advocate from Zambia who is concerned about the implications of the funding cuts added: “I have seen the Global Fund work – I’m alive thanks to its investments in Zambia. But right now we now risk reversing the gains we have made in the fight against HIV/AID and TB. Without new investment fast, those still waiting for treatment and care won’t be as lucky as I have been”.

The organisations are calling for donor governments to honour their funding pledges and commit funds to sustain and scale up the work of the Global Fund, and for national governments to increase their contribution to health budgets.

Click here for more on World TB Day 2012.

    We have a real chance of seeing an end to TB in our lifetime