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Gates ups AIDS gift to $150 million

Gates ups AIDS gift to $150 million

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said Thursday it will give an additional $50 million to the United Nations' international AIDS-fighting fund, a day after the United States said it won't give the resource-short charity any more money. The Gates Foundation's announcement at the International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, raises its contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to $150 million. "The Global Fund is an extraordinary model for financing the fight against AIDS, TB, and malaria," said Helene Gayle, director of the foundation's HIV program. "We urge governments, the private sector, and other donors to dramatically increase their contributions to the fund. Their generosity can help save millions of lives." The global fund, set up 30 months ago, faces a major funding gap. Donors have committed a total of $3.4 billion through 2004, enough to meet its needs through the end of the year, but pledges for 2005 through 2008 are just $2 billion, far below the $3.6 billion that the fund projects it will need in 2005 alone. On Wednesday, U.S. Global AIDS coordinator Randall Tobias rejected a call by U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan for a $1 billion contribution in 2005, saying the money it has already given is sufficient. The United States has given about $580 million to global fund until now and has proposed giving another $200 million for 2005. "I think that's going to be more than adequate to meet the requirements of global fund in terms of getting the money out doors and programs in place," Tobias said in an interview. (AP)

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