Americans give Russia $34.2 million to help treat and care for people living with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis

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HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced today that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria awarded Russia $34.2 million over two years to help treat and care for people living with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

At a series of meetings in Moscow, Secretary Thompson announced the grant and urged strong public leadership from Russian government officials in the nation's efforts to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. He also asked Russian health, legislative, civic and faith leaders to continue working with the United States, the Global Fund and, most importantly, each other to effectively treat and prevent HIV/AIDS.

"AIDS is a disease that knows no borders, and all nations must dedicate themselves to confronting this scourge as openly as possible," said Secretary Thompson, who is Chairman of the Board of the Global Fund. "The United States and Global Fund look forward to working with the Russian government, as well as community and faith-based groups, to build an effective national response to this disease."

Secretary Thompson notified Russian Health Minister Mikhail Zurabov and other officials that the Global Fund Board voted to award the grants to Russia at its meeting this week in Geneva, Switzerland. This grant marks the second time the Global Fund awarded money to Russia, following an $88.7 million HIV/AIDS grant and a $10.8 million tuberculosis grant last year.

The $34.2 million grant will be used to provide treatment and care for people living with HIV/AIDS in Russia, which is experiencing a 15 percent annual growth rate in HIV/AIDS cases. According to official government estimates, there are more than 274,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, though experts believe there are actually 1.5 million to 2 million cases in Russia.

In total, the Global Fund Board voted this week to award $968 million to 50 nations. Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has committed more than $3 billion to 130 countries and three territories.

"The Global Fund is a major part of the United States' commitment to being the world leader in providing compassionate care for people living with AIDS," Secretary Thompson said. "As a nation, we are dedicating unprecedented resources, time and energy into research, treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS."

Under President Bush, the United States is the largest donor to the Global Fund, having pledged nearly $2 billion of the $5.4 billion pledged by all nations, corporations, individuals and charitable foundations to date. Additionally, President Bush's fiscal year 2005 budget requests $2.7 billion for international AIDS programs, a 272 percent increase over the $725.6 million spent by the United States in fiscal year 2001.

The $2.7 billion is part of President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a five-year, $15 billion initiative to turn the tide in the global effort to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Under President Bush, total federal spending on domestic and international HIV/AIDS programs has grown from $14.2 billion in fiscal year 2001 to a requested $19.8 billion in fiscal year 2005 -- a 40 percent increase.

Globally, the HIV/AIDS pandemic has killed at least 20 million of the more than 60 million people it has infected thus far, leaving 14 million orphans worldwide. Today, on the continent of Africa, nearly 30 million people have the AIDS virus -- including 3 million children under the age of 15. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is helping some of the most affected countries in Africa and the Caribbean to extend and save lives afflicted by HIV/AIDS. The initiative will be used to provide antiretroviral drugs for 2 million HIV-infected people; prevent 7 million new infections, care for 10 million individuals and orphans infected and affected by the disease, and build the health system capacity in Africa and the Caribbean.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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