The APPG on HIV and AIDS is delighted by Saturday’s announcement from the Government that they will be giving £1.4 bn to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and TB at this September’s replenishment conference.
Following our joint reception last week with the APPGs on TB and Malaria where Michael Sheen and Charlie Webster spoke passionately about the importance of UK aid to the Global Fund, the Secretary of State wrote to the Chairs of the three APPGs to announce this important decision.
The reception was a celebration of the Global Fund’s amazing success. In 2000 just 2 million people living with HIV were on treatment, today 22 million people are. Other speakers included the three APPG chairs, Stephen Doughty MP, Jeremy Lefroy MP and Nick Herbert MP, the Minister Andrew Murrison MP and Maurine Murenga - a Global Fund advocate who spoke about how the Fund has saved her life - Executive Director of the Global Fund, Peter Sands and shadow international development Minister Dan Norris.
Andrew Murrison, the Minister for International Development highlighted that what characterised the event was the personal nature of all of the speeches. Everyone’s lives have been touched in different ways by these 3 diseases and all of those present at the event were passionate advocates for the excellent work of the Global Fund. They also highlighted that we need to step up the fight in order to finally end these diseases of inequality and ensure that our progress to date does no start going in reverse. Stephen Doughty MP said:
“We cannot ignore the fact that there are over 1000 new infections a day amongst women of reproductive age and that AIDS is still the biggest killer of that particular group. HIV is an illness that disproportionately affects the poorest and most vulnerable people in society with 50% of new infections amongst the most marginalised groups – men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers and people who use drugs.
In our latest report “No One Left Behind” we called on the UK Government and Global Fund to increase their support of these groups in the HIV response. HIV should not be a death sentence for anyone and in countries where marginalised groups are prevented from accessing treatment and support, it is vital that the Global Fund can step in and bridge that gap.”
On Monday this week, Chair of the APPG on HIV and AIDS Stephen Doughty MP, once again raised the importance of UK aid in a debate in the House of Commons where he commended the UK Government’s decision to pledge £1.4bn to the Global Fund.
The UK’s early and ambitious pledge is a strong signal to other donor countries and we hope to see them make equally ambitious announcements at the upcoming conference.