AHF Urges World Leaders Not to Waver in the War on AIDS Ahead of the Argentina G20 Summit

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As Argentina is set to host this year’s G20 summit, which happens to
coincide with the commemoration of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1st,
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)
urges world leaders to address global public health’s most urgent
priorities and fully commit to winning the war on AIDS.

Even though HIV is a chronic condition that is now 100% treatable and
preventable, an estimated 940,000 people still die from AIDS-related
causes every year, almost 37 million people worldwide are living with
HIV—and less than 60% of them are receiving treatment. Additionally,
there were almost 2 million new infections last year alone. To
exacerbate the situation, global AIDS funding has declined by 3 billion
USD since 2012, and it is estimated the world will need double the funds
by 2030 than what is currently being allocated for HIV prevention,
testing and treatment.

The funding decline is the result of several factors but the main reason
is two-fold: Governments are not prioritizing HIV/AIDS, and many G20
nations are not contributing their fair share to fully fund the Global
Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Countries like China, with
the world’s second largest economy, pledged only 18 million USD to the
Global Fund’s Fifth Replenishment. China must do more to
eradicate infectious diseases, particularly in places where it is
reaping the benefits of human capital and natural resources.
Regrettably, in Latin America, G20 states such as Argentina, Brazil and
Mexico do not contribute to the Global Fund, even though they had
benefited from its support in the past.

“The G20 has all the power to ensure that future global health policy is
established to address and overcome the world’s most challenging
healthcare issues,” said Terri Ford, AHF Chief of Global Advocacy
and Policy. “It represents 85% of the entire world economy, 75% of
global trade and 66% of the world’s population. Given its economic power
and influence, we urge the G20 to reignite the fire that is urgently
needed to stamp out HIV and other infectious diseases. The world cannot
afford to lose the ground it’s gained fighting thus far.”

With all of the economic clout carried by G20 countries, the amount of
money required to bolster global health and assist those in need is
miniscule compared to what many nations are spending in other areas,
such as defense.

“With the summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina has an opportunity to direct
the world’s attention to urgent global public health issues, such as
HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases and humanitarian crises. Millions
of people are dying of preventable causes – we all have an obligation to
do everything in our power to stop this tragedy,” said Dr. Miguel
Pedrola
, AHF Argentina Country Program Manager and Scientific
Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Bureau. “In our global and
interconnected society, we have a moral obligation to support each
other, because as we know all too well, diseases and disasters do not
confine themselves to political borders on a map. The G20 is in a unique
position to improve the lives of millions by investing in global public
health.”

With that in mind, AHF urges G20 world leaders to consider the following
pressing public health challenges:

  1. Financing: G20 countries should increase their contributions to
    the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and demand
    strong bilateral and multilateral commitments to external aid for
    public health.
  2. Drug accessibility: G20 countries should remove barriers to
    pharmaceutical imports and the domestic production of affordable
    generic drugs, which are essential to public health, particularly in
    low- and middle-income countries.
  3. HIV testing and treatment: Governments should generate policies
    that broaden the scope of HIV testing programs. In the absence of a
    cure or an effective HIV vaccine, the most effective way to control
    the HIV/AIDS epidemic is by providing HIV testing and treatment to as
    many people as possible.
  4. Antimicrobial resistance: Antimicrobial resistance represents a
    dangerous threat to global public health. With the appearance of many
    drug-resistant pathogens, such as gonorrhoea, tuberculosis and others,
    the risk of unstoppable pandemics is constantly growing. The world
    should address this issue by significantly increasing investment in
    research and preparing for outbreaks
  5. Neglected tropical diseases: As shown by the Ebola outbreak in
    2014 and two this year alone—including an ongoing outbreak in the
    Congo that has so far killed 191 people—we ignore neglected tropical
    diseases at our own peril. The cost of not being prepared for an
    inevitable outbreak in an interconnected world could mean the loss of
    millions of lives, disruption of travel and global trade, and
    long-lasting costs for the reconstruction of the affected communities.

These priorities are by no means all that is required, but they are a
starting point that will set us on the right course towards a healthier
and more equitable society. Without proactive measures, the crises
spawned by instability, social conflict and economic insecurity will
continue to arise. But by putting global public health high on the
agenda, the G20 can enjoy substantial benefits to the world economy in
terms of equity, reduced economic distress and a healthier world for
everyone.

For more information, please visit thewaronaids.org
or contact Denys Nazarov at dn@aidshealth.org,
or +1 (323) 308-1829.

Interviews are available upon request.

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1
million people in 42 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.

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