Losing Funding, Losing Hope?

Now that it looks like the global market (discounting Europe) is taking its first tentative steps towards recovery from the 2008-2009 recession, attention is once again being paid to various humanitarian causes to see how they weathered the economic storm. In the case of the global battle against HIV/AIDS, the recession caused serious damage as frustrated, tired donors cut funding and went elsewhere to try and change the world. Sadly this means that the increasing number of people infected and living with HIV/AIDS are starting to experience major troubles in obtaining medical care as assistance programs around the world (including in the U.S.) are having to prioritize who receives life-preserving medications.

365 Gay News | (Johannesburg) Doctors are being forced to turn away people with HIV/AIDS – meaning they will fall ill and almost certainly die – in eight African countries as donors cut funding amid the global economic meltdown, an aid group said Thursday.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, called on rich countries to fulfill their obligations to poorer nations, saying the funding cuts threaten to unravel years of progress on the continent hardest hit by AIDS.

The MSF study looked at AIDS programs in Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe, and found the effects of funding cuts widespread.

Change.org | In the letter, published by the Washington Post, Sir Elton writes, “Most important, Ryan, you inspired awareness, which helped lead to lifesaving treatments. In 1990, four months after you died, Congress passed the Ryan White Care Act, which now provides more than $2 billion each year for AIDS medicine and treatment for half a million Americans. Today, countless people with HIV live long, productive lives.”

Elton does not gloss over the fact that the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs — funded by the Ryan White Care Act — are in trouble. Although he does soften the blow some. He notes that many people, mostly “poor people,” are placed on waiting lists to garner access to the medications.

Well, actually it is happening in a lot of states.

A press release from Community Access National Network says that over 1,000 people in 10 states are on waiting lists for access to the life saving drugs. Those states, and the number of people on waiting lists are Hawaii: 2 individuals; North Carolina: 470 individuals; Utah: 96 individuals; Idaho: 26 individuals; South Carolina: 71 individuals; Kentucky: 200 individuals; Iowa: 71 individuals; South Dakota: 30 individuals; and Wyoming: 17 individuals.

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