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U.K. official unveils $10 billion AIDS plan

U.K. official unveils $10 billion AIDS plan

Thursday in Kenya, Gordon Brown, the United Kingdom's finance minister, proposed a $10 billion plan to revitalize the global fight against AIDS. "I believe the generation that provided the finance to combat, cure, and eradicate the world's deadliest disease of today--and today the world's least curable disease--will rightly earn the title 'the great generation,'" Brown said. The plan calls on donors to pledge large funding increases to fight AIDS on every front: from accelerating the hunt for vaccines to providing drugs for millions of people infected with HIV. The extra billions of dollars would ensure that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria would have a steady income stream to fund the rapid expansion of AIDS programs in the developing world. The United Kingdom this year holds the presidency of the G8 group of industrialized nations and has promised to use that position to promote a plan to raise AIDS funding and fight poverty through debt relief, trade-barrier removal, and boosting aid. The pledges Brown hopes to secure would help governments invest in hospitals, sex education, and bulk purchases of drugs. The plan would double HIV vaccine research funding from the current $750 million annually and create a coordinated global system through which scientists could share findings. The plan also would encourage drugmakers to speed up vaccine research by having rich countries promise to buy doses for African governments. Funding for the effort will come from Brown's planned International Finance Facility, which would seek to double aid by leveraging existing budgets in the capital markets, boosting assistance to the poorest countries by $50 billion annually. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria praised Brown's plan. However, the relief group ActionAid said the plan emphasizes vaccine research at the expense of immediate treatment. (Reuters)

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