Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Announces $100 Million Commitment to the Global Fund For AIDS and Health
Stopping the transmission of AIDS is foundation's number one global health priority
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Signaling that stopping the transmission of AIDS is the foundation's top global health priority, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced that it will commit $100 million to the Global Fund for AIDS and Health. The foundation used the occasion to call on other organizations and governments around the world also to support the new fund. The foundation is making this commitment over a multi-year period for innovative HIV/AIDS prevention efforts.
"As we reflect on 20 years of AIDS and the 22 million lives it already has claimed, we believe that there is no higher priority than stopping transmission of this deadly disease," said Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We are pleased to join those who have already contributed and those who will in the weeks and months ahead."
"The data on HIV/AIDS is overwhelming, and it only begins to tell of the suffering families experience every day. We have to respond," said Patty Stonesifer, co-chair and president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "This is only part of a comprehensive and unprecedented effort that is needed to stop this pandemic. Governments, the private sector and the nonprofit community all have to redouble efforts so that together we can break this chain of transmission."
According to recent reports, HIV/AIDS transmissions continue to rise. Around the world, more than 36 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. Nearly half are women and the vast majority of those infected live in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly four million people became newly infected just last year. Of the more than 16 million AIDS orphans living worldwide, over 90 percent live in sub-Saharan Africa.
The new fund also will address other infectious diseases including tuberculosis and malaria. Worldwide tuberculosis affects more than 23 million people. Malaria continues to be a public health problem in 90 countries affecting 40 percent of the world's population.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Health Program:
The Global Health Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving people's lives by sharing advances in health with the global community. Within the field of global health, the foundation focuses its efforts in three areas: vaccine preventable diseases; reproductive and child health; and conditions associated with poverty.
In terms of the program's HIV/AIDS focus, the goal is to reduce and ultimately stop HIV transmission, improve access to care for those infected, and improve conditions for children affected by HIV/AIDS. Specifically, the foundation's HIV/AIDS strategy relies on the following key priorities:
1. AIDS Vaccine Development – The foundation is a major contributor to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, which is working to speed the discovery and distribution of a safe, effective and accessible AIDS vaccine.
2. Prevention/Protection – Innovative and critical programs that demonstrate success in stopping the spread of AIDS are also a priority. The foundation supports a number of major initiatives in this area, including the Harvard School of Public Health for AIDS Prevention in Nigeria and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
3. Microbicide Development – The foundation is supporting efforts to develop new and effective microbicides to help women protect themselves against HIV/AIDS. It has contributed to the Consortium for Industry Collaboration in Contraceptive Research.
4. Comprehensive Approaches – The foundation funds comprehensive approaches such as the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership to reduce the spread of HIV and to increase significantly the awareness, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
5. AIDS Orphans – AIDS has orphaned more than 16 million children. The foundation supports programs such as PLAN, an unprecedented pan-African effort for children under age 15 who are living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.