Tuesday, 1 December 2009

David Williams backs World AIDS Day

David Williams today backed World AIDS Day to raise awareness of the plight of the more than 33 million people around the world living with HIV.

Every day, over 6,000 people become infected with HIV and over 5,000 people die from AIDS. An estimated 1.9 million people were newly infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa last year, bringing to 22.4 million the number of people living with HIV. Around 14 million children have been orphaned due to AIDS.

Douglas Alexander, Labour’s International Development Secretary, said: “We have made tackling this disease a top priority and I am proud that, under Labour, the UK has become the 2nd largest funder tackling HIV/AIDS. We are committed to investing £6 billion to achieving the goal of universal access to comprehensive prevention programmes, treatment, care and support. We can make a difference, if we show the political will to act.”

David Williams said:“Access to AIDS services across the developing world remains unacceptably low. Most prevention strategies are available to fewer than 1 in 5 people who need them. But we can make a difference. Labour’s continued commitment to overseas aid and support for health services in poor countries is vital to tackling this devastating epidemic.”

Labour is investing:
• £6bn up to 2015 targeted at strengthening sustainable health systems.
• £1bn for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tubercolosis and Malaria to 2015.
• A 50% increase in funding for research and development of AIDS vaccines and microbicides.
• £90 million to UNITAID to increase access to paediatric care.
• Targeting women for access to anti-retrovirals to reduce mother-to-child transmission.

Labour is making progress in the fight against HIV/AIDs:
• more than 4 million people can now access anti-retrovirals, compared to just 100,000people who received treatment back in 2001.
• the rate of new HIV infections has been reduced, with the most progress seen in sub-Saharan Africa
• The percentage of the world’s population living with HIV has levelled off.
• Since 2004, 20 times more people have access to life-saving treatment. Since 2003 the price of first line AIDS drugs has halved.

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