Aids experts warn of ‘catastrophic’ shortfalls

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iol scitech july 27 aids conference AP IMAGES FOR AIDS HEALTHCARE FO File photo: Michael Weinstein, President of Aids Healthcare Foundation, speaks at the Making Safer Sex Sexy panel discussion during the International Aids Conference.

Washington - The world economic downturn is leading to massive shortfalls in funding the fight against Aids, experts warned on Thursday.

Michel Kazatchkine, UN Special Envy for HIV and Aids in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, told the International Aids Conference in Washington he was worried.

“I am especially worried about short-term financing,” he said. “International financing is at risk.”

Since the 2008 world financial crisis, international funding for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria has flatlined, said Kazatchkine, who for years was director of the fund.

Funding for national programs in some cases has risen, but that is not enough, he said.

The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders agreed there was no room for a time out.

“The fight against HIV is a long-term commitment,” said Oliver Moldenhauer, one of the group's delegates to the conference.

“A break can have catastrophic consequences. There's no room for flexibility,” he added.

Countries less affected by the economic crisis must step in, he said.

“Germany, especially, has to increase its contributions,” Moldenhauer said. - Sapa-dpa

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