Activists call for emergency Global Fund meeting

Swazi and South African HIV activists marched to the United States consulate in Johannesburg last week...

Aids awareness red ribbon. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

Swazi and South African HIV activists marched to the United States consulate in Johannesburg last week demanding the US continue supporting the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria.

They also called for the safeguarding funding of its President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which US President Barack Obama's latest proposed budget will cut by 12 percent.

The march organisers was a coalition of international and regional HIV organisations, including the global medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the World AIDS Campaign, and the AIDS Rights Alliance Southern Africa.

It also called on the British and Australian governments to join their American counterparts in kick-starting a response to solve the Global Fund's financial crisis.

Without an emergency donor meeting, the Fund, already in need of at least US$ 2 billion, will only secure additional funding at its next scheduled replenishment in 2014.

"We're not asking for charity, we are asking for social justice," said Daygan Eagar, a researcher at the South African human rights organisation, Section 27.

"The US spends more money in one day of war than we're asking for the Global Fund."