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G8 countries must invest more to achieve universal access targets - UNAIDS

A display of 8,000 flags outside the venue of the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Canada, 17 August 2006. The flags symbolised the number of people who die from AIDS-related illnesses every day around the world.
(Kristy Siegfried/IRIN)

Commitments on universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care by leaders of the G8, the grouping of the world's richest countries, will not be met without additional resources, UNAIDS has warned.

Although international assistance from the G8 has reached its highest level ever, at US $5.6 billion, the target of universal access by 2010 made at the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005 was in jeopardy.

"While the G8 leaders meet in Germany over three days, an estimated 33,000 people will be newly infected with HIV and nearly 24,000 people will die from AIDS-related illnesses," UNAIDS said in a press release. "AIDS must be a top priority for the G8 this year and every year - in commitments and in action."

The German coastal resort of Heiligendamm is hosting a G8 summit where some delegates feel AIDS has been sidelined in favour of emerging issues like climate change.

In a report on international assistance for HIV in 2006, UNAIDS noted that while donor funding for the pandemic had increased significantly, there remained a financing gap of $6 billion - a deficit "that could even grow larger over the next few years".

On Wednesday, the Zambian National AIDS Network said certain delegations within the G8 were urging the establishment of a new lower target of 50 percent coverage, a sharp contrast to 2005 pledges towards "universal access", defined by UNAIDS as 80 percent coverage.

The newly appointed United Nations Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa and ZNAN executive director, Elizabeth Mataka, told IRIN/PlusNews the possible reductions in the G8 targets were "a very real fear".

kr/oa


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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