Global Fund News Flash: Issue 38
John Rae is a documentary and commercial photographer who has worked with the Global Fund since 2002 and delivered some of our most memorable images. Over the years, John has visited over 45 countries to document efforts to defeat AIDS, TB and malaria. We asked John to pick a memorable photo and tell us the story behind it. He picked this one, from 2008, and gave this account:
I was in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, a town defined by its hyperactive cross-border trading with Brazil. Its prisons are full of traders, fixers, and others who have put their toes well over a few legal lines. Prisons are incredibly good incubators of TB because conditions tend to be crowed, dirty, and wet. If you are locked in a crowded cell, it is difficult to protect yourself from infection. I was there to document a successful Global Fund sponsored program that fights the spread of TB at the Ciudad del Este regional prison.
Upon entering, I had to give up my wallet, cell phone, passport, and everything else in my pockets. I met the head of the Stop TB program, Juan Carlos, a handsome ex-inmate who is tall, all muscle, with a scar that runs from behind his left ear to under his chin. His job was to enter cell blocks to check on inmates, look for signs of TB, educate inmates about TB, and to dispense medication. When I asked if I could follow him on his rounds, he looked skeptical. Juan Carlos went deep into the prison – further than any guards would go. I was warned that the guards could not guarantee my safety. With a deep breath I said, “OK, let’s go.” Juan Carlos and I put on white smocks to differentiate ourselves from the prisoners, who wore street clothes.
We walked through a series of gates that puts us beyond the reach of the guards. They followed us part of the way but soon we were on our own. I asked Juan Carlos if he ever had any trouble. He replied that sometimes he gets mugged. But didn’t we leave all our valuables at the guard station? The inmates wear street clothes so anything we are wearing is valuable. Have they taken your shoes? He replies, “Yes.” His shirt? “Yes.” His pants? “Yes.” His underwear? I hold my breath… “Yes.” So, Juan Carlos, what do you do then? He says “I put on a big smile and walk back out.”
But the walk-through was inspiring, not scary. Juan Carlos is a hero to the inmates. They understood that he literally had their life in his hands, as he risked his own. He was greeted with hugs and hoots in many cell blocks. As he spoke to inmates about how they are and whether anyone is coughing, I saw his concern. He checked a couple of guys with TB to see if they were adhering to treatment. I spent two hours walking through the prison. We could have done it in about half the time but Juan Carlos stopped to talk to anyone who needed his attention.
To learn more about John Rae visit: www.raephoto.com
Most HIV-positive people who are on antiretroviral treatment have a near zero chance of transmitting the virus to others during unprotected sex, a European study has found.
In a finding that could dramatically change the lives of HIV-positive people and public health policies in Australia, a study of 282 gay men on treatment with undetectable levels of the virus in their blood, found that none of them transmitted it to their partners through unprotected sex over one year.
While a previous 2010 study of mainly heterosexual couples showed that having an undetectable viral load reduced the risk of transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner by 96 per cent, this is the first study to look at the risk in gay men, who make up about 80 per cent of the HIV-positive population in Australia.
HIV experts said that although the latest data presented from the PARTNER study at a US conference this week suggested an ”extremely low and possibly zero risk” of transmission among people with undetectable levels of the virus, it was too early to tell people that they could abandon condoms.
However, they said the study boosted hopes that a strategy of ”treatment as prevention” could play a major role in stemming the spread of HIV in Australia in coming decades and should prompt the federal government to explore more home-based testing so people know their status and can be treated earlier.
Professor Andrew Grulich, of the Kirby Institute, said that while some Australian states including NSW and Victoria had already introduced more rapid HIV testing to encourage people to know their HIV status, Australia should follow the US and allow tests to be sold over the counter in pharmacies for home-based use.
”I think home-based testing absolutely has a place in the testing response in Australia because treatment as prevention critically depends on people with HIV being diagnosed as early as possible, so they know they are infected and can take action to reduce their infectivity before they have any unsafe sex with anybody they could pass it on to,” he said.
Head of infectious diseases at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Professor Sharon Lewin, said a ”treatment as prevention” strategy was promising because about 90 per cent of people on antiretroviral treatment have undetectable levels of the virus in their blood when they have tests, usually at six monthly intervals.
But she said limiting the spread of the virus was complex because about 8000 of the 33,000 people living with HIV in Australia do not know they are infected.
”It’s thought that about 50 per cent of new infections come from people who don’t know they are infected,” Professor Lewin said.
Furthermore, she said only about half of the 25,000 people who know they are HIV positive are receiving antiretroviral treatment for a range of reasons, including a historical requirement for people to show a certain amount of immune system damage to receive subsidised treatment.President of the National Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS Robert Mitchell welcomed the results of the PARTNER study which will continue to examine the risk of transmission among heterosexual and homosexual couples until 2017.
”These results provide further evidence of the powerful impact that HIV treatment has on preventing HIV transmission. It is important that every effort is made to alert people with HIV and their doctors to these latest findings, particularly as this study is the first of its kind to include a significant number of gay couples,” he said.
7 March 2014 News Release
JAKARTA, Indonesia – The Board of the Global Fund approved strategic, financial and operational components of a new approach to funding that offers more predictability, more flexibility, more inclusive country dialogue and a greater impact to defeat AIDS, TB and malaria.
At a meeting that concluded today, the Board approved final elements of the new funding model, opening the way for its full implementation to begin this month. Following a decision in November 2011 to “evolve the funding model,” the Board, its Committees and Global Fund staff have spent more than two years devising, refining and preparing a transition to the new funding model, coordinating closely with partners on each step.
“We are moving forward with a model that will enable our partners to reach more people with the information and services they need,” said Dr. Nafsiah Mboi, Chair of the Board of the Global Fund. “Working with partners, we are supporting the most effective methods to defeat AIDS, TB and malaria.”
The Board approved an updated comprehensive funding policy and an initial allocation of $10.2 billion for grants during 2014-2016. Ten percent, or close to US$1 billion, will go to “incentive” funding, to encourage ambitious plans.
With a more strategic approach based on national plans, the new funding model will support countries in planning how to control these epidemics and to provide care and treatment to people affected by them, including strengthening of health systems. The new funding model relies on strong country dialogue to bring partners together to best decide how to maximize impact, and to look at how all available resources can serve a country’s objectives.
Available funding for health interventions does not meet the full demand in many countries. The Global Fund encourages ambitious national strategic plans to defeat HIV, TB and malaria, and is aware that focusing on maximum impact can in the future achieve more than seems possible today. To enable long-term sustainability, the Global Fund is encouraging greater investment and long-term financing in countries all over the world.
The Board also approved a revised disclosure policy for the Office of the Inspector General, building further upon a policy of a high degree of transparency. The revised policy calls for publicly releasing all reports the Office of the Inspector General, including those on internal operations at the Global Fund.
For more information please contact:
The Global Fund
Head of Communications
Andrew Wilkie MP joined anti-poverty campaigners at Parliament House this week to support the end to one of the world’s deadliest and oldest diseases – tuberculosis.
Volunteers and staff from RESULTS International (Australia) met with the Independent Member for Denison to discuss several issues including ending the scourge of tuberculosis and improving education in the Asia-Pacific.
RESULTS works closely with federal parliamentarians and their constituents to generate the public and political will to end extreme poverty.
Anti-poverty advocates Maree Nutt, Camilla Ryberg, Sarah Kirk, and Gina Olivieri went into bat for The Global Fund to Fights AIDS, TB & Malaria, asking Mr Wilkie to call on the Abbott Government to make a donation of just $200 million to the lifesaving financial institution.
Over a million people die from tuberculosis each year worldwide, more than half of these deaths occur right on Australia’s doorstep.
Mr Wilkie has been a long-time supporter of the grassroots organisation since 2010 and makes his office and resources available whenever they visit Canberra to champion their causes.
The campaigners also asked Mr Wilkie to write to Treasurer Joe Hockey and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop to get the Government to commit to effective and cost-efficient nutrition and education programs that will build economic resilience in the Asia-Pacific.
Globally, there are still 57 million children not in primary school, with the Asia-Pacific accounting for over half of all the world’s illiterate adults.
Mr Wilkie MP said: “I welcome RESULTS and their campaigning for more Government action to improve our region’s health and prosperity. If the Foreign Affairs Minister wants better value for our aid dollars, she needs to commit to developing a nutrition and education strategy for our foreign aid program and to support the Global Fund even more.
“A more prosperous region means a more prosperous Australia,” Mr Wilkie added.
Maree Nutt, CEO of RESULTS, said: “We are very grateful for Mr Wilkie’s support in the fight against TB and education. With recent cuts to the foreign aid budget we need every MP and Senator in our corner to win this battle.
“Investing in credible organisations like the Global Fund and developing smart, cost-effective strategies to improve education standards, will not only save hundreds of thousands of lives, but it will save us millions of dollars,” Ms Nutt added.
RESULTS staff and volunteers will meet with 18 MPs and Senators in just two days.
4 March 2014
JAKARTA, Indonesia – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria expressed thanks for President Barack Obama’s request for US$1.35 billion for the Global Fund in his 2015 budget proposal, calling it a demonstration of consistent commitment to global health.
“We recognize and are deeply grateful for the U.S. role in our efforts to defeat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria,” said Dr. Nafsiah Mboi, Chair of the Board of the Global Fund. “With the U.S. giving as much as it can, we know we can drive even greater participation by other countries to reach our common goals.”
President Obama’s budget request for the Global Fund, announced today in Washington, D.C., came as the Global Fund prepares to convene a meeting of its Board in Jakarta, where it is expected to discuss and approve measures to increase the impact of its investments.
The U.S. is limited by law to providing one-third of the overall funding for the Global Fund. President Obama’s budget request for the Global Fund in 2015 is aligned with the pledge of up to US$5 billion over 2014-2016 that President Obama made when he hosted the launch of the Global Fund’s Replenishment in Washington in December 2013.
At the time, President Obama strongly encouraged other countries to give more, promising to match an additional US$1 million for every US$2 million contributed by other countries through September 2014. The Obama Administration renewed that standing pledge today.
In April, 2013, President Obama requested US$1.65 billion for the Global Fund for 2014, expressing hope that other countries would come forward with twice that amount. Within legal limits, today’s request for 2015 is the maximum amount currently possible.
The Obama Administration’s budget request included an additional US$300 million for the Global Fund in a new initiative called the Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative, which is subject to approval by Congress. That is an additional avenue of potential funding, should other contributions grow.
Over the last ten years, the partnership between the Global Fund and U.S. programs including the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) have jointly achieved dramatic advances toward defeating HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
For more information please contact:
The Global Fund
Head of Communications
The Global Fund is an international financing institution dedicated to attracting and disbursing resources to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria. The Global Fund promotes partnerships between governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities, the most effective way to help reach those in need. This innovative approach relies on country ownership and performance-based funding, meaning that people in countries implement their own programs based on their priorities and the Global Fund provides financing where verifiable results are achieved.
Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has supported more than 1,000 programs in more than 140 countries, providing AIDS treatment for 6.1 million people, anti-tuberculosis treatment for 11.2 million people and 360 million insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria. The Global Fund works in close collaboration with other bilateral and multilateral organizations to supplement existing efforts in dealing with the three diseases.
Global Health News
Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a high-level advocacy organisation which seeks to mobilise regional awareness of the serious threat posed by HIV & AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to societies and economies in the Pacific. In pursuing its goals Pacific Friends has a specific interest in highlighting the need to protect the rights of women and children in the Pacific.