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Economic Crisis Hurts HIV Fight: World Bank, UN

The economic crisis has disrupted HIV prevention and treatment programs, including causing shortages of anti-retroviral drugs, a report by UNAIDS and the World Bank said Monday.
'In 22 countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, and Asia and Pacific, disruption of HIV prevention and treatment programs is expected over the course of this year as a result of the global economic crisis,' said the report.
Eight countries were already facing shortages of anti-retroviral drugs or other disruptions, added the report, which compiled responses from 71 countries where 3.4 million people receive treatment. It added that in 34 countries, respondents said there is already an impact on prevention programs. [Agence France Presse/Factiva]
Meanwhile in health related news AP reports that "The UN may need more than $1 billion this year to help poor countries fight the swine flu pandemic, the world body's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday.
'The funding has not been flowing as we have been expecting,' Ban said. 'We are now mobilizing all resources possible.'
The money is needed to ensure the poorest countries get vaccine supplies and antivirals if the global epidemic continues to spread, he told a news conference. ...Health officials are concerned that people in poorer countries and those fighting other health problems like malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition and pneumonia might be more susceptible to swine flu. ..." [The Associated Press/Factiva]
Reuters notes that "The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is facing a budget hole of about $3 billion as the recession dries up foreign aid, the Geneva-based funding body said on Friday.
Spokeswoman Marcela Rojo said that $170 million is still needed to pay for the programs the Global Fund committed to supporting last year, and it will need $2.5 billion to $3 billion to maintain and finance programs planned for 2010. ...
Question marks over funding for the Global Fund's long-term programs may raise public health threats, because patients receiving AIDS and tuberculosis drugs need to keep taking the treatment to avoid developing resistance to it. ..." [Reuters/Factiva]


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