UK government defends 22% cut to global HIV prevention funds

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The UK government has defended making a 22% cut to HIV prevention funding in the international aid budget.

The funding came under scrutiny during a Parliamentary debate yesterday, which took place to mark World AIDS Day.

Labour MP Roberta Blackman-Woods warned: “Although the UK remains the second-largest donor to the global HIV response, it is concerning that total DFID funding for HIV/AIDS declined by 22% between 2012 and 2015.

“Although the UK has increased funding through multilateral institutions such as the global fund, that has not made up for the sharp decline in funding for DFID country office programmes, which fell from £221 million in 2009 to £23 million in 2015.

“There has been a decline in DFID funding for civil society organisations, which do such important work on the ground to tackle AIDS and HIV.

“We should pay tribute to them and ensure that their work is funded properly. Does the Minister intend to stop that reduction in funding and to fund those organisations properly?”

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

The SNP’s Chris Law added: “Only last week, the World Health Organisation highlighted the fact that the number of new infections in Europe is growing at an ‘alarming rate’.

“In central Asia, infections have increased by more than half since 2010. Key populations, for example, men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who use drugs and sex workers, are disproportionately affected by HIV.

“A further challenge is the high price of intellectual property and drug prices, which remain a barrier for HIV patients’ access to medicine. UNAIDS predicts we would need an additional $7 billion annually to respond to the global HIV challenge.

“However, total DFID HIV funding decreased by 22% between 2012 and 2015, and the Department’s last strategy on HIV expired more than two years ago. It has no plans to renew it.

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