International donors must continue meeting their commitments to HIV/AIDS, even in the face of the economic downturn, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged.
"Now is not the time to falter," he told the UN General Assembly Review on HIV/AIDS in New York on 16 June. "The economic crisis should not be an excuse to abandon commitments - it should be an impetus to make the right investments that will yield benefits for generations to come."
In 2006, the Assembly pledged to achieve universal access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010. UNAIDS has said that achieving these targets in the timeframe would require an estimated $25 billion.
In 2008 the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was forced to cut funding by 10 percent; the World Bank projects that the global recession could place the treatment of more than 1.7 million at risk by the end of 2009.
"I fear that many governments are resigned to reducing programmes and diminished expectations," said Miguel D'Escoto, President of the UN General Assembly. "But it is precisely when times are difficult that our true values and the sincerity of our commitment are most clearly evident. If we allow cuts now, we will face increased costs and great human suffering in the future."
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