Lack of funds to support the fight against AIDS could contribute to the return of the virus, warned experts gathered Sunday in Amsterdam for the opening of the International Conference on this disease.
“The progress we have made in recent years in Africa remains very fragile. To meet our objectives, governments must engage more, “warns Dr. Réjean Thomas, founder of Clinique L’Actuel, joined Sunday in the Netherlands to comment on the exit of the former director of the Global Fund to fight against AIDS, Mark Dybul.
Earlier, Mr. Dybul had worried that the population growth of some African countries, where the virus is still ubiquitous, is causing an upsurge in HIV.
Yet the number of new cases worldwide has been steadily declining for years. In 2016, the number of AIDS-related deaths has even dropped below the million mark for the first time since the turn of the century.
Progress that could however be undermined by the Trump administration, which has never hidden its intention to reduce the financial contribution of the US government to PEPFAR, a program set up by George W. Bush in 2003 to fight the AIDS in the world. What worry the experts, even if the cuts have not been, for the time being, sanctioned by the Congress.
“Despite all the criticism we’ve made to Bush, we realize he was not that bad. PEPFAR has had a huge impact in Africa. If the Americans disengage, it will hurt a lot, “fears Réjean Thomas.
In 2016, two-thirds of the government’s AIDS funds came from Washington. Even so, the UN is already estimating $ 7 billion a year in lost revenue so that HIV is no longer a threat by 2030.
Not enough to do the lesson
Across Canada, the epidemic is in the process of being controlled, but the government does not have a “lesson for others,” according to Dr. Thomas.
“If the situation improves, it is only because of the treatments, which have improved considerably over the last ten years. Certainly not because there is more prevention than before, “says he.