From: Reuters
Published March 10, 2008 11:22 AM

Global fund seeks $12 billion to fight AIDS and TB

By Haggai Chilabi

LUSAKA (Reuters) - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria hopes to raise over $12 billion by 2012 to help some of the world's poorest nations fight the diseases, its chairman said on Monday.

Rajat Gupta expressed confidence that the fund could raise the money after it secured $100 million in the past 18 months.

"The money we are mobilizing will help us mitigate the effects of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria especially in the worst affected countries," Gupta said on a visit to Zambia, among southern African countries ravaged by HIV/AIDS.

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Sixty eight percent of all people infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than three quarters of all AIDS-related deaths in 2007 occurred.

Treasury data shows that approximately one million of Zambia's 12 million people are HIV positive and about 300,000 are in need of antiretroviral therapy.

Gupta told President Levy Mwanawasa in talks covered by reporters that the country was making progress in the fight against AIDS but the Zambian leader was more cautious.

"The HIV prevalence in Zambia is unacceptably high and continues to be a source of grave concern. The AIDS situation in Zambia is further compounded by co-epidemics of tuberculosis and malaria," Mwanawasa said.

Spread through close personal contact, TB has long been a problem in Africa, where hundreds of millions of people are latent carriers. But its growing relationship with HIV has made treating both diseases more difficult in vulnerable populations.

(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://africa.reuters.com/)

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