Tuesday, August 16, 2005

HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, and the Global Fund

Over 40 million people around the world are living with HIV today. According to UNAIDS, 3.1 million people died of AIDS-related diseases and 4.9 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2004. Some 15 million children under age 18 have lost one or both parents to AIDS, the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa.

The AIDS pandemic is a human rights crisis. Systemic abuses of the right to be free from discrimination, the right to prevention, treatment and care, the right to physical and mental integrity, and the right to freely receive and impart information not only exacerbate the spread of AIDS, but also fuel a cycle whereby those living with HIV/AIDS are subjected to further human rights abuses on account of their status.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria represents an unparalleled opportunity to mobilize financial resources to tackle the global AIDS pandemic and to ensure that this is done in a coordinated and effective manner.

Launched in January 2002, the Global Fund has committed $3 billion in 128 countries. However, the fund faces a continuing budget shortfall. The world’s wealthiest governments have not contributed an amount on par with the size of their economies.

For the fiscal year 2006, the Global Fund requested the U.S. government contribute $930 million to sustain current projects, continue successful programs beyond their initial two-year funding period, and finance new and necessary grants. The U.S. government initially pledged only $200 million.

Update: On July 20, 2005, the Senate approved a fiscal year 2006 foreign aid appropriations bill that includes a $500 million U.S. contribution to the Global Fund. Earlier in July, an additional $100 million U.S. contribution was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which now waits on the Senate legislative calendar. This brings the total U.S. contribution to the Global Fund on the Senate side to $600 million, $200 more than was requested by the House of Representatives and President Bush. Final approvals of these bills are pending, and debate within the House could bring substantial cuts to the Senate’s increased contribution.

»Learn More: Amnesty International and the Fight Against HIV/AIDS: Questions and Answers

»Get Involved: AIUSA's Health and Human Rights Network

»Full Coverage: HIV/AIDS and Human Rights

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