Randall Tobias, head of the State Department's Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, on Wednesday extended a deadline for other countries to contribute to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria so that the United States can maximize its contribution to the fund. U.S. law states that federal funds can make up only 33% of the global fund's contributions in any year, up to a total of $547 million for the current fiscal year. In order for the full U.S. amount to be donated this year, other nations must donate $1.11 billion. As of July 31, the deadline for the international contributions, the fund was still $243 million short.
Tobias says his office will immediately contribute $427 million to the fund but will hold the remaining $120 million in reserve until September 30 to allow other nations to continue to donate to the fund. If the full $1.11 billion figure is met by then, Tobias says he will release the remaining U.S. contribution. If the full international quota isn't reached, the $120 million will be spent elsewhere on AIDS programs through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which supports HIV education, prevention, and treatment efforts in 15 developing nations in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.
Some AIDS advocates say the deadline extension isn't long enough and that the United States should immediately release the full amount approved by Congress. "This is not about arithmetic. This is a matter of life and death," Stephen Lewis, United Nations special envoy for AIDS in Africa, told the Detroit Free Press.