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The 63rd Human Rights Day has Passed, the Right to Life of Many Affected by HIV Remains in Peril

Bangkok, 12 December 2011. The United Nations (UN) and many governments globally marked the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on December 10, 2011. However, due to the lack of funding to support the treatment that keeps many PLHIV alive and essential prevention services to protect vulnerable populations from contracting HIV. Those of us representing the key affected populations of HIV still have difficulty attaining the most fundamental of all rights enshrined in the UDHR ‘s article 3: everyone has right to life,

Without treatment and prevention services, the right to life for people living with HIV/AIDS has no practical reality and celebrating Human Rights day makes little sense.

Last June, the UN General Assembly agreed on ambitious new targets for 2015 including 15 million people on treatment, a 50% reduction in new sexually-transmitted HIV infections and the elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission. However, a mere six months later, those same member states have broken their promise. Two weeks ago, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (TGF), one of the most important international HIV and AIDS funding mechanisms, announced it was cancelling its upcoming round of new grant making and would make no new grants until 2014. TGF has created a Transitional Funding Mechanism to provide “emergency relief to current recipients who will run out of money before 2014”, rather than the planned round of new funding. With these cuts, meeting the 2015 targets will not be possible.

TGF is funded mainly by national governments, but also receives money from large organizations, individuals and private sector partnerships. The Global Fund Board has reported that $2.2 billion is outstanding in unpaid donor pledges and they are facing a funding deficit of $6 billion. On 22 November 2011, the board made the difficult decision to put emergency funding measures in place.

The Transitional Funding Mechanism will provide funding for the “continuation of essential prevention, treatment and/or care services currently financed by the Global Fund” (Global Fund). Country applicants will have to “demonstrate that there are no alternative sources of funding available to fund the activities proposed” (Global Fund) and fulfill the new eligibility criteria. There will be no scope for new applicant countries to apply or for scale up or improvements in HIV treatment to be funded.

The impact of reduced funding for countries reliant on TGF to finance national HIV, TB and Malaria programmes will be considerable.

Do not allow the lives of key affected populations' to become a silent casualty of the global financial downturn. Our lives are not cheap, they mean significantly more than just money! We expect health to be prioritised over wars, banks, military and lavish politics.

Those of us who attended the December 7-8 Making Global Fund Money Work for Communities: Community Partnership Consultation in Pattaya, Thailand, are extremely concerned over the governments and donors cutting back on already insufficient HIV treatment and care programmes. We, the undersigned, call on all governments and donors not to cut funds to HIV/AIDS interventions from the scale that is needed and to keep their promises.

Sunil B Pant; Constituent Assembly and Parliament Kathmandu, Nepal
ALCO; The Organization of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor
APN+; Asia Pacific Network Of People Living With HIV/AIDS
APCOM; Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health
APNSW; Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers
ISEAN; Insular Southeast Asian Network on MSM.TG and HIV
7 Sisters; The Coalition of Asia Pacific Regional HIV/AIDS Networks (7S)
GWL-INA; Indonesia Gay, Transgender and other MSM Network
NFI; Naz Foundation International
PNGOC; Philippines NGO Council on Population Health & Welfare, Inc.
CVC; Caribbean Vulnerable Groups Coalition
COIN; Centro de Orientacion e Investigacion Integral
MODEMU; Movimiento de Mujeres Unidos
COTRAVEDT; Comunidad de trans trabajadoras sexuales dominicana,
Jóvenes de la Vida Real
ECOM; Eurasian Coalition on Male Health
EHRN; Eurasian Harm Reduction Network
For more info please contact Vince Crisostomo; or +668 497 0 2437