Australia to lift HIV aid in developing nations: FM

12:18, October 07, 2010      

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Australia on Wednesday announced to lift aid to reduce the toll from human immunodeficiency virus ( HIV), tuberculosis and malaria in developing nations, committing 210 million dollars (204 million U.S. dollars) over three years.

According to Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, the aid would support the critical work of the Global Fund in tackling these three diseases.

"We are committed to helping developing countries, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, in their fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria," Rudd said in a statement.

According to the Australia Associated Press, Rudd said the Global Fund was a key player in combating these deadly diseases, providing a quarter of all international financing for HIV and two- thirds for tuberculosis and malaria.

The Global Fund had saved an estimated 5.7 million lives since 2002, providing HIV treatment for more than 2.8 million people and tuberculosis treatment for seven million people.

It has distributed 122 million insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria.

"Australia's new pledge is a 55 percent increase on our previous three-year pledge and demonstrates our confidence in the ongoing success of the Global Fund in the prevention and treatment of these three diseases," Rudd said.

Despite the number of new infections was decreasing, it was important that the international community continued to focus on preventing and ultimately eliminating this devastating virus, according to Rudd.

"Malaria continues to put half the world's population at risk with 62 percent of malaria cases outside of Africa occurring here on our doorstep, in the Asia-Pacific region," he said, adding that an estimated 33 million people were living with HIV,

"Asia also continues to grapple with the spread of tuberculosis with Indonesia ranking as third in the world for its overall tuberculosis burden."



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