Friday, December 01, 2006

EU work combating HIV/Aids

Brussels, 1 December. Speakers from DG Development and EuropeAid of the European Commission presented 'EU work combating HIV/Aids' at an InfoPoint lunchtime seminar in Brussels for World AIDS day.

Enrico Mollina from DG development explained that the estimated worldwide total number of adults and children living with AIDS is 39.5 million. 4.3 million are newly infected with HIV in 2006.

The EC policy to confront HIV/AIDS in developing countries is linked with that to combat other poverty related diseases specifically TB and Malaria. The EC action at country level increases national capacity; to strengthen social services (health and education). At a global level the EC advocates for price reductions in pharmaceuticals and improve partner country capacity in pharmaceutical policy.

Through the "Investing in People" programme (2007-2013) of which more than 50% of the budget is for "good health for all" (EUR 1.06 billion) the EC will focus on human resource crisis in health systems, poverty related diseases, the GFATM, sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and neglected and emerging diseases.

Patrick Berckmans from EuropeAid explained the budget lines which have supported this work. Between 2003 and 2006 the EC spent 1.1 Billion Euros to confront HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

During questions and answers it became clear that a call for tenders for the new "Investing in People" programme is unlikely before April next year. The German presidency was likely to provide an opportunity to have a more open discussion on the issue of the feminisation of AIDS and the policy implications for interventions. Unfortunately coordination between member states and the EC still appears to be problematic with coordination only happening in 4 of the African countries and in 10 countries worldwide.

A DVD "Cooperation that counts - Innovating approaches to AIDS prevention" is available from the Commission (en,fr,es).

Story contributed by Chris Addison.