As the General Assembly readies itself for a high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS early next month, senior UN officials are warning that a funding shortfall could derail the global battle against the pandemic.
According to UNAIDS, international spending on various aspects the disease rose from US $2.1 billion in 2001 to $6.1 billion in 2004, but the shortfall in 2005 would be in the region of $6 billion, since funding is expected to remain stagnant or increase marginally.
Stephen Lewis, the UN special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, said the struggle for funds to save lives was "an obscenity and a mortifying international indignity", in view of the vast resources devoted to military expenditure by the world's richest countries.
Lewis told the Inter Press Service news agency: "We are only talking of relatively small sums of money - a maximum of about $20 billion by 2007 - to save several millions of lives. There is something dreadfully out of whack."
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