via The Washington Post, by Desmond Tutu

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month has demonstrated that antiretroviral treatment can prevent the spread of HIV, in addition to saving those infected from sickness and death.
Armed with this new data, President Obama should lead the world in a massive effort to expand access to treatment and rid humanity of AIDS — the most devastating disease of our time.
But just as the end of AIDS has finally come within reach, we are witnessing an unprecedented drop in financial and political support for the cause.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the Kaiser Family Foundation reported in August that donor funding for HIV/AIDS leveled in 2009 and then declined — 10 percent — in 2010 for the first time ever. The United States, which accounts for more than half of global contributions to fight the disease, disbursed $700 million less in 2010 than in 2009. And projected U.S. funding in 2011 is roughly $28 million less than in 2010.

This is a great shame, as millions of people receiving treatment worldwide depend on these funds to stay alive.

Our support should be increasing. AIDS remains the leading cause of orphanhood and of death among women of reproductive age. It is a major driver of opportunistic infections — particularly tuberculosis — and keeps tens of millions of Africans mired in poverty.

Read the rest.

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