via Bloomberg, by Simeon Bennet
Michel Kazatchkine and Eric Goosby may be able to halt the spread of HIV. They just need the money.
The two men control the funds that buy drugs for most of the world’s AIDS patients. Studies in July provided the strongest evidence yet that medicines used since 1994 to treat HIV can almost eliminate the chance an infected person will pass the virus to a sex partner. Given to healthy people, the treatments can also protect against infection, offering the potential to end a pandemic that has killed 30 million people in 30 years.
Governments are now planning projects to assess whether those findings can be replicated in the real world, and what that might cost. Getting the drugs just to those patients who should be treated under existing guidelines would cost another $6 billion a year, according to the United Nations
. Treating all those infected, in some of the world’s poorest countries, would cost tens of billions more.
Finding more money will be difficult with economic growth stalling and nations including the U.S., the biggest donor to the AIDS fight worldwide, trying to curtail overall spending to rein in debt. Funding for AIDS in poorer nations fell 10 percent to $6.9 billion in 2010 from 2009 levels, according to the UN.
“We may well be able to overcome AIDS,” Kazatchkine, the director of the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said in an interview. Still, “the gap between what the science is telling us we can achieve and what we would be able to achieve is at risk of increasing.”
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