Public Health

Doctors Without Borders Challenges Wealthy Nations To Sustain AIDS Funding

Progress in the war on HIV/AIDS is in jeopardy as donations to countries in the developing world stall.

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"Shrinking funding for HIV treatment risks underming the results obtained," the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders warns in report released Thursday. Uncertain funding in sub-Saharan Africa is already affecting the treatment of new patients with effective drugs, the group says. (See the embedded video for more.)

A particular concern, Doctors Without Borders says, is flat funding for the U.S. President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief Fund, or PEPFAR.

The right measure for "for success is not dollars spent but actual lives saved," U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby said in a statement cited by Reuters. The number of people whose medicines PEPFAR funds "has continued to increase dramatically each year," to nearly 2.5 million in 2009.

The global economic downturn is putting pressure on donor countries to scale back or stretch out funding. Dr. Eric Goemaere, Doctors Without Borders' medical coordinator in South Africa, that wasn't an acceptable excuse for failing to honor commitments to step up the AIDS fight, the Associated Press reports.

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