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Homearrow News and Events Year 2010 HIV among newborns could be 'eradicated by 2015' (AFP)

HIV among newborns could be 'eradicated by 2015' (AFP)

But those gains depend on the world continuing to ramp up health spending to maintain the current rate of progress, the Global Fund said in its annual report, released ahead of a funding meeting in the Netherlands later this month.

"A world where no children are born with HIV is truly possible by 2015," said Michel Kazatchkine, head of the Global Fund, launching the group's annual report.

"It is also possible now to imagine a world with no more malaria deaths, since already an increasing number of countries have been reporting a reduction in malaria deaths of more than 50 percent over the past couple of years," he said.

"No other area of development has seen such a direct and rapid correlation between donor investments and live-saving impact as these investments in fighting AIDS, TB and malaria."

Programmes supported by the Global Fund have provided anti-retroviral drugs to 790,000 pregnant women with HIV, which dramatically reduces the chances of their babies being born with the virus.

That represents about 45 percent of the women who need such treatments, the Fund said, adding that reaching the goal of 100 percent depends on ongoing donor commitments.

Kazatchkine said in Africa more than 400,000 babies were born with HIV last year, compared to four in France, saying that mother to child transmission could virtually be eliminated with effective drug regimens.

UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibe said a few years ago in Africa, less than 50,000 people were on anti-retroviral treatment, but currently 3.5 million people were on treatment.

Despite progress on the prevention and treatment of HIV, the fight against the disease was not over, he said.

"There are 7,400 new infections every day, and we have more than 5,000 people dying everyday with HIV and every time we put two people on treatment we have five new infections," said Sidibe.

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Sidibe said underfunding of the organisation would result in people stopping their treatment, resulting in more deaths.

The Global Fund was established as a public-private partnership in 2002, and has become the world's main vehicle for financing schemes to combat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. About 10 billion dollars has been disbursed by the Fund as of December.

Kazatchkine said the Fund would seek at least 13 billion dollars from donors during the talks later this month.

Activists are alarmed that donors could decide to turn their money to other public issues at the expense of AIDS programmes.

"We're starting to see worrying signs that donors have actually thrown in the towel and are starting to shift their attention and accordingly their resources to other areas," said Paula Akugizibwe of the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa.

"We call on donors to ensure that the Global Fund is replenished and that global funding for HIV is sustained and increased."

The report said more than four million people were currently on anti-retroviral drugs worldwide and around six million with active TB were treated in 2009.

In Africa, the three diseases account for 52 percent of deaths among women of child-bearing age. Among children, malaria alone accounts for up to 18 percent of deaths.

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