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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

AIDS : G20's Broken Promises

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Miss Promesses isn’t happy about missed deadlines and broken promises by the G20 countries
By F. Young

G8 leaders had agreed in 2005 to provide universal access to anti-AIDS medications by 2010, but the WHO estimates that 10 million people are still awaiting treatment. That is two thirds of the people who need the treatment.

Miss Promesses [actually Nicolas Denis, Aides’ manager of international advocacy] was one of several AIDS activists at the G20 Summit in Cannes, France, on Nov. 3 and 4. The G20 consists of the European Union and 19 of the most important industrialized and developing economies.

The Miss Promesses happening, as it was called, in the G20 media center in Cannes on Nov. 3 was organized by Aides, the largest NGO working on HIV/AIDS issues in France.

According to Aides, 7000 people die of AIDS each day, yet, numerous studies show that access to treatment is a good investment for the future. A study published in The Lancet shows that if $22 Billion were spent annually till 2020 on HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support, $30 Billion in extra resources would flow annually to developing countries due to saved lives and reduced infections.

The French National AIDS Council has published a "Memorandum Equivalent to an Opinion" recommending that financial transactions be taxed to fund the battle against AIDS. In a news release, the Council explains why these innovative investments are necessary:
“For the first time in the history of the fight against HIV/AIDS, the opportunity to curb the spread of the global AIDS epidemic has been shown to exist. Indeed, we now know that treating infected people significantly reduces the risk of virus transmission."
"Ensuring the widest possible access to screening and treatment for those who need it is the best way to stem the spread of the epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, massive development of prevention, screening and treatment access programs could prevent half of the 62 million new infections predicted for the 2005 to 2015 period.”
On Nov. 2, the French groups Act Up Paris and Sidaction had expressed their disappointment that the G20 leaders were not pressing the wealthiest and emerging countries to make concrete quantified commitments to fund treatment access.

In fact, at the G20 the AIDS pandemic was overshadowed by the Greek referendum and Euro crisis. The G20’s final declaration made no mention of HIV/AIDS and merely acknowledged the initiatives in some countries for a tax on financial transactions.

However, according to Oxfam, a tax on financial transactions to fund international development (popularly called the “Robin Hood Tax”) gained additional support at the G20, and is now supported by Argentina, Brazil, Ethiopia, France, Germany, South Africa and Spain.
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