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Hiv/Aids: UN Appeals For Anti-Retroviral Drugs

UN Envoy For Hiv/Aids Appeals For Funds For Anti-Retroviral Drugs

With a World Health Organization (WHO) initiative to provide anti-retroviral treatment for 3 million people with HIV/AIDS by 2005 running into a roadblock for lack of funding, a senior United Nations official appealed today, especially to the 30 richest countries, for the $200 million needed for this year and next.

"How is it that the resources for <"">WHO can't be mobilized? Thus far, only the United Kingdom, Spain and Sweden have indicated a willingness to consider some relatively modest sums," the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, Stephen Lewis, said at a news conference in New York.

'The <"">3 by 5 initiative, as it is called, is, in my view, one of the most important initiatives that has emerged from the United Nations in the life of the AIDS pandemic," he said, adding, "This is the best chance we've had in more than 20 years to turn the pandemic around."

"One by one the 30 countries of the OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] have to cough up the money," Mr. Lewis said. "No one is exempt."

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), designed to end extreme poverty by 2015, are being held hostage by AIDS, with entire societies staring into the abyss, yet "we can't raise one-tenth of 1 per cent of what we're spending on war and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan to break the back of the pandemic," he pointed out.

To implement its plans, WHO must train 100,000 people, marshall experts to provide technical assistance, establish logistical supply lines and upgrade health systems infrastructures, the Special Envoy said. "Without the money, 3 by 5 will be a pipedream," he warned.

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