July 24, 2012 - 12:42 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The U.S. is adding an extra $150 million to the global AIDS fight, taking a first step toward reaching some stigmatized populations, the Associated Press reported.
Despite tough fiscal times, “I am here today to make it absolutely clear the U.S. is committed and will remain committed to achieving an AIDS-free generation,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the International AIDS Conference
“We need to go where the virus is,” Clinton told the meeting.
Included in the new U.S. funding is $15 million for research to identify the best HIV prevention tools to reach those key populations in different countries, and $20 million to create a challenge fund to support country-led efforts to put those findings into practice.
Closer to reality is a goal of virtually eliminating transmission of HIV from infected pregnant women to their babies by 2015, by getting the mothers onto anti-AIDS drugs. HIV-infected births are rare in the United States and are dropping steadily worldwide, although some 330,000 children became infected last year. Clinton said the U.S. has invested more than $1 billion toward that goal in recent years and is providing an extra $80 million to help poor countries finish the job.
The world spent $16.8 billion fighting AIDS in poor countries, the hardest-hit, last year, and the United States is the leading donor.
But Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder and philanthropist, said the world is facing great uncertainty about whether wealthy nations will continue funding AIDS programs with the same vigor as in the past.
“As these budget trade-offs are made, the voices of the AIDS community and the global health community are going to have to be louder than ever,” said Gates, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged more than $1 billion to global AIDS efforts.
Another $7 billion a year is needed to get 15 million people in low- and middle-income countries onto medication by 2015, a United Nations goal. A record 8 million received it last year.