G8 Leaders Call For More International AIDS Funding

Group of Eight leaders called Sunday for more AIDS funding to improve monitoring and to give more people access to treatment.

G8 leaders said member nations would work to secure funds needed for 2006-07 to replenish the Global Fund earmarked for AIDS. They also called for the development of a four-year funding strategy.

"That's positive because it's an opportunity to get away from this constant cycle of funding shortages and emergency replenishment," said Oliver Buston of the group Debt AIDS Trade Africa. "It's an opportunity if they take it, and they need to take it."

But he said the plan issued by the leaders lacks specific action.

"What we were hoping for this time was a very detailed, time-bound plan of how the G8 were going to meet there promise, and this document doesn't really deliver that," he said.

Double the existing number of health care workers is needed to improve the AIDS situation worldwide, said Eric Friedman, policy adviser for Physicians for Human Rights.

The G8 agreement calls for "building the capacity of health care systems in poor countries through recruitment, training and deployment of public and private health workers," but Friedman said the statement does not say how those goals will be achieved.

"The agreement is not doing anything new," he said.

However, advocates praised Russia's announcement Sunday that it would repay US $270 million that the Global Fund has spent in Russia by 2010.

"I hope it can serve as an example to the U.S. and other countries as an example of increasing their own contributions," Friedman said.