Jeremy Laurance: States need to back up fine words with hard cash if great leap forward is not to be wasted

 

Share
Related Topics

The gap between rhetoric and reality on Aids has widened to a chasm. While politicians proclaim huge advances – Hillary Clinton speaks of a "historic opportunity to change the course of the pandemic" – governments, including her own, are buckling in the economic storm sweeping the globe and funds are being slashed. A historic opportunity looks like becoming an opportunity grievously missed.

The epidemic is still running ahead of all attempts to contain it. The numbers newly infected – 2.7 million last year, a figure which has remained unchanged for the last five years – still vastly exceed those getting treatment for the first time, which reached 1.35 million last year. The global population with HIV is still expanding.

Two stories have dominated the news in the past year – one bringing hope, the other despair. As the world marks the 30th anniversary of the diagnosis of the first patient with the disease, experts say they now know how to halt its transmission. A study earlier this year showed that treatment with antiretroviral drugs not only keeps patients alive but also dramatically reduces the virus levels in their body, cutting their chance of passing on the infection by 96 per cent.

Hence the proclamation from Ms Clinton (and others) that we could be at the beginning of the end of Aids. Yet her announcement of $60m additional funding to scale up treatment in four countries in sub-Saharan Africa is a sop beside what is needed.

As cash to pay for the drugs has been cut by governments caught in the recession, the Global Fund, which supports 70 per cent of all patients on treatment in poor countries, has cancelled its 11th funding round. Millions with HIV have had their hope of gaining access to treatment dashed. Warm words from President Obama and Ms Clinton will not restore it.

World Aids Day: Victory within reach – but cuts could spoil it all
New 'Lite' approach could save more lives with less money
Hillary Clinton: We must not waste this historic opportunity
Elton John on the streets with Ukraine's lost generation
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy: Mothers, babies and HIV
Jeffrey Sachs: Politicians just don't care enough to tackle this scourge
Jeremy Laurance: States need to back up fine words with hard cash if great leap forward is not to be wasted
Leading article: Belt-tightening can't apply to Aids
Aids under the lens
World Aids Day: Thirty-four million reasons to act

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Bill Cosby dismisses the allegations that have demolished his lovable TV persona as ‘innuendos’  

Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

Rupert Cornwell
UK Border Control  

Do you think I'm feckless? I worked for two years in the Netherlands

David Ryan
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin