Protest at HIV funds cuts
More than 5000 people are expected to march to the US consulate tomorrow to protest about cuts in HIV funding, march organisers said in Johannesburg yesterday.
"We have been receiving bouncing cheques from [US President Barack Obama's] administration and the G8 [group of developed nations]," World Aids Campaign co-ordinator Linda Mafu said at Cosatu House, in Braamfontein.
Mafu was referring to Obama's President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, which recently reduced its support for antiretroviral treatments in sub-Saharan Africa and froze its funding for HIV/Aids.
This meant that many of those infected by the disease who were receiving treatment funded by the Obama plan would no longer receive it and would die, she said.
"They started it [funding] so they must complete it," said Treatment Action Campaign general secretary Vuyiseka Dubula.
Other donors, such as Unitaid and the World Bank, have also announced plans to reduce their funding for ARV drugs in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Uganda, and the DR Congo.
As a result, the World Aids Campaign, the largest funding institution in the fight against HIV/Aids, faced a huge funding shortfall.
Dubula said the US was being targeted because it contributed to saving the most number of lives.
"The recession has been used as a scapegoat. [The US] is one of the most powerful economies and has resources to scale up services. If wars can be funded, then so can [HIV/Aids programmes]."