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Fund cuts hurt AIDS fight in Africa

Associated Press / May 28, 2010

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JOHANNESBURG — Doctors are being forced to turn away people with HIV/AIDS in eight African countries as donors cut funding amid the global economic crisis, an aid group said yesterday.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, said the patients being rejected will fall ill and almost certainly die without treatment.

The group called on rich countries to fulfill their obligations to poorer nations, saying the funding cuts threaten to unravel years of progress on the continent hardest hit by AIDS.

The MSF study looked at AIDS programs in Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, and found the effects of funding cuts widespread.

MSF said the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — a major, independent supporter of AIDS programs around the world — was under pressure from the wealthy governments that pay for it to cut back.

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a US program that is a major funder of AIDS programs around the world, has had its budget nearly frozen at a time of increasing need, MSF said.

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