AIDS Funding Crisis – Keep the Promise

By Larissa Klazinga – South Africa


2016 marks the return of the International AIDS Conference to Africa, 16 years and millions of deaths after Nkosi Johnson addressed world leaders, and international activists on the realities of AIDS in Africa.

Nkosi Johnson lost his battle against HIV later that same year as South Africa struggled to survive Mbeki’s AIDS denialism and Manto’s beetroot and garlic pseudo-science. Today HIV need not a death sentence for South Africans, with over 3 million people accessing lifesaving antiretroviral medication at government clinics. In the course of his tenure, Health Minister Motsoaledi has spearheaded the largest public health revolution in recent times and South Africa has gone from global pariah to world leaders on HIV.

South African is one of only a handful of countries with a government committed to public health and a national budget that allows us to continue expanding access to treatment while shouldering the financial burden ourselves. South Africa contributes over 80% of the cost of treatment, making us a leader on the continent in HIV/AIDS response.

While South Africa has made great progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the same cannot be said for its neighbours; Lesotho and Swaziland. With HIV prevalence rates of 23% and 29% respectively, our land-locked neighbours are still grappling with the epidemic. Worse still, ongoing global funding cuts threaten to  jeopardise the progress made to date and could fuel the rise of new infections and AIDS-related deaths.

As far back as 2010, the Global Fund has failed to meet its funding targets and this funding scale-back is a major cause for concern when viewed in the context of countries like Lesotho and Swaziland. As the Global Fund enters a new replenishment cycle, key European contributors are reducing their contributions to the Fund and redirecting resources to assist with the influx of refugees into Europe.

Exacerbating the funding crisis, a country like China which has multi-billion dollar stakes in Africa continues to profit from Africa’s growth, but refuses to live up to their responsibilities to contribute to the Global Fund; donating only a fraction of the billion dollars they owe. China, perhaps more than any other foreign investor, has benefitted from Africa’s preferential trade agreements and open markets but refuses to pay their fair share towards maintaining the health of the nations they exploit for raw materials and cheap labour.

In addition, and against all logic, the World Bank has reclassified both Swaziland and Lesotho as Middle-Income Countries (MIC), making them “ineligible” for the level of funding they need to turn the tide on AIDS.  This is because countries classified as MIC qualify for less funding from the Global Fund, but must pay twice as much for essential medicines. The new classification is based on the mean GDP amount of UD$2.87 per person per day, or roughly the cost of a cup of coffee at Rosebank’s newly opened Starbucks.


The impact of the MIC reclassification combined with the Global Fund replenishment shortfall cannot be overstated; with drug stock-outs, test kit shortages and condom supply shortfalls, countries like Lesotho and Swaziland are facing an uphill battle to save their citizens from needless, agonising deaths.

South Africans have seen the consequences of being denied access to life-saving medication first-hand.  As a result, we have a responsibility to speak out on behalf of our neighbours and to hold our trade partners accountable to pay their fair share. On the 16th of July, the eve of the 2016 International AIDS Conference, activists from around the world will gather in downtown Durban to call on world leaders to Keep the Promise to fund HIV interventions. We invite all people of conscience to join that call.

Photo credit : AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)




AIDS Healthcare Foundation – Nigeria in collaboration with Civil Society organizations on Monday the 16th of May, urged Germany, Japan and China to up their contributions to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.  The call was made at the official launch of the Fund The Fund campaign; a global initiative spearheaded by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, ahead of the 5th Global Fund replenishment exercise in September, 2016.


 Dr. Adetayo Towolawi ( Country Program Manager, AHF Nigeria) , while acknowledging the gains of  GF since inception, called on donor countries to commit to fully funding the Global Fund, whose target is $13 Billion for the 2017-2019 grant cycle, . “if the decline in funding continues, these impressive achievements might be endangered, and we could lose billions of dollars, and more importantly, millions of lives. The health of millions of our global citizens should not, and will not be ignored”.


On the issue of accountability and effective utilization of grants , Mr. Steve Aborisade of ProjektHope , stressed the need for government to put in place stringent mechanisms in to ensure donor funds are utilized efficiently, and to check misappropriation and fraud. Civil society organizations were also charged to actively exercise their roles as “watchdogs” in grant implementation. This is coming on the heels of the recently released GF OIG report which indicted some Nigerian agencies for misappropriation.

If AIDS funding continues to decline and HIV treatment and services are not scaled up rapidly by 2020, it could result in 21 million deaths and an additional 28 million people becoming infected with HIV by 2030. If this were to happen, the world would have to pay an additional $24 billion every year for antiretroviral therapy by 2030. On the other hand, a timely scale-up of funding for AIDS, TB and malaria would yield a 15-fold return on investment.

Impact of Global Fund

Since inception in 2002 The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) has saved more than 17 million lives. Over 470 million people have been tested for HIV and about 8.6 million people are receiving lifesaving antiretroviral therapy for HIV.  Sixteen million people with HIV-TB co-infection have been treated and nearly 3.3 million mothers have received treatment to prevent the transmission of HIV to their babies, while 560 million people with malaria have been treated.

The Global Fund program started in Nigeria in 2003, up to date Nigeria has been awarded $1.43 billion which has been instrumental in providing HIV care and treatment to 750,000 people, Provided TB treatment to 310,000 and provided 93.4 Million Mosquito nets. Nigeria currently represents the Global Fund’s largest portfolio with a total of $1.1 billion allocated to fighting the three diseases for 2014-2016.

Photo credit : AHF Nigeria




Zero Discrimination Day… AHF Africa Advocates for an end to Stigma & Discrimination


Photo credit : UNAIDS

The 1st March is earmarked by the United Nations as Zero Discrimination day.  It is a day set aside to speak out and raise awareness against all forms of discrimination. To celebrate the right of every individual to live their full and productive life with dignity regardless of gender, race, nationality, age, disability, colour, sexuality, religion, and language.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) , a leading organization that provides cutting edge treatment and advocacy services in 36 countries globally, believes that the #ZeroDiscriminationDay is a day that should be embraced by all ; especially as the world works toward achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and ending AIDS.

“In the fight against HIV/AIDS ; ending stigma and discrimination plays a very crucial role in winning the fight and ending AIDS. Although some progress has been made in addressing stigma and discrimination, people living with HIV/AIDS still suffer as a result of stigma and discrimination in Africa and the world at large.  Individuals are still denied access to healthcare services, jobs, schools, rejected by their families and treated unfairly because of their status” ( Dr. Penninah Iutung, AHF Africa Bureau Chief)

“Nigeria has an anti-discrimination law, which is a highly commendable development; however a law is not efficient; if it is not implemented. AIDS Healthcare Foundation Believes that government needs to work more closely with stakeholders to see that nationwide orientation is carried out with respect to educating citizens and law enforcement agencies on the use of the anti-discrimination law” (Dr. Adetayo Towolawi–,Country Program Manager , AHF Nigeria).

The world needs to be a more tolerant place and people need to work concertedly to ensure that stigma and discrimination is stamped out.   In addition, more advocacy needs to be done in ensuring that favorable policies are enacted and implemented across the continent. AHF Africa advocates that every individual be treated first as humans with rights that need to be respected and upheld.  The organization also joins the United Nations and the rest of the world in solidarity; in commemoration of Zero Discrimination Day



“In accordance with resolution A/Res/70/228, the UN General Assembly will convene a high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS (HLM) from 8-10 June 2016 at UN Headquarters in New York” …..

For those who would like to participate in this crucial meeting , here is an opportunity for you by following the link below:



The International AIDS Conference coming up in Durban from the 18-22 July , 2016   has doubled scholarship opportunities.

Kindly take advantage in order to secure attendance to the biggest HIV/AIDS Conference in the world.

Please see the link below for more information

AIDS 2016