UK leads the global AIDS fight says Prime Minister

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The Prime Minister has marked World AIDS Day with a statement of support for the fight against the disease worldwide.

Gordon Brown said the British government has committed £6 billion for spending on health over seven years to 2015 and an additional £1 billion to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

“This week we are launching a new international Taskforce on Innovative Financing for Health Systems to generate new ways of ensuring long-term sustainable funding for health,” he said.

“I call on leaders across the world to hold firm to their promises to improve the health of the poorest, even in the midst of the current economic challenges.”

He said that the fight against AIDS in Britain required investment in education, prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

“That is why the government has increased funding to enable healthcare providers to meet their sexual health targets, and why particular effort is being placed on improving preventative interventions for homosexual men for whom rates of diagnoses have continued to increase.

“And that is why this year’s World AIDS Day focuses on the simple actions all of us can take to support those living with HIV and AIDS, to tackle prejudice wherever it occurs, and to protect ourselves and each other from infection.”

The Health Protection Agency estimates that there were 3,160 new HIV diagnoses among gay men in the UK in 2007, showing that numbers of new diagnoses are at their highest level ever since the mid 1980s.

Nearly 500 men were diagnosed after the point at which treatment should have begun, meaning they missed out on the benefits associated with early diagnosis including prolonged life expectancy.

Early diagnosis continues to be the most important factor in mortality and morbidity linked to HIV.

Analysis of figures over the past five years has shown that a late diagnosis of HIV meant that gay men were 13 times more likely to die within one year of diagnosis compared to those diagnosed early.

Last week LGBT Labour met the International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander, to discuss the global fight against HIV and AIDS.

LGBT Labour Co-Chair, Katie Hanson said:

“I stressed to Douglas that LGBT the people want the UK Government to maintain its global leadership on this issue and meet its commitments to the world’s poorest people.

“With 33 million people still living with HIV and AIDS worldwide, we must continue to act. I was very pleased that Douglas committed to continuing the Government’s focus on tackling poverty at home and abroad.”