AHF: Lancet’s Africa AIDS study shows global testing woefully under-funded

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A study published in the British medical journal Lancet yesterday suggesting that testing all adults in Africa annually for HIV and immediately treating every person who tests positive could halt the AIDS epidemic in Africa within a decade has spurred the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) to renew its call for the massive scale up of, and dramatically increased funding for global HIV testing and antiretroviral treatment worldwide.

“With this study, another nail has been pulled from the coffin of those in need of testing and treatment and those who would most benefit from the immediate massive scale up of HIV testing and lifesaving treatment around the globe,” said Michael Weinstein , President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest AIDS group in the US which currently provides medical care and services to more than 86,000 individuals in 22 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia. ”This study supports AHF’s position that global HIV testing efforts remain woefully under-funded. The mathematical model suggests that if we take a different course of action immediately, the AIDS epidemic as we know it could be brought to a virtual halt throughout Africa within ten years. We are calling on global funding bodies such as the World Health Organization, the Global Fund and PEPFAR to take immediate action and change the course of their respective global efforts by redirecting crucial funding toward HIV testing efforts around the world.”

“At the very time this remarkable study has been published, AHF has been coordinating the current World AIDS Day 2008 ‘One Million Tests’ campaign, an ambitious collaborative global effort involving 1,000 organizations from 72 countries around the world who will collectively test over one million individuals for HIV between today and Monday December 1 st -World AIDS Day,” said Terri Ford , Director of Global Advocacy for AHF and Coordinator of the ‘One Million Tests’ campaign, in a statement from Africa where she is overseeing AHF’s own ‘One Million Tests’ World AIDS Day testing efforts in South Africa and Uganda. “Our ‘One Million Tests’ campaign provides a roadmap of just how the collaborative scale up of HIV testing can happen in countries rich and poor, large and small. I urge people the world over to join us and get tested as part of the campaign. I also urge leaders in the AIDS community and funding bodies to take a closer look at our testing initiative as an innovative approach to addressing the challenges of scale up of testing and treatment.

There are currently 33 million people worldwide thought to be living with HIV/AIDS. Of these, only about three million people in the developing world currently have access to lifesaving antiretroviral AIDS medications. The vast majority of those living with HIV/AIDS worldwide have never been tested for the virus. The ‘One Million Tests’ campaign seeks to demonstrate that widespread scale up of testing-with linkage to treatment, when needed-can be accomplished with global partners working together. Additional information is available at www.onemilliontests.org and www.aidshealth.org.



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