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AFRO-NETS> Formation of the Global AIDS Alliance

Formation of the Global AIDS Alliance

Multinational HIV/AIDS Advocacy Group forms, asks Congress for fund-
ing to help Africa

Various groups from around the world yesterday officially announced 
the formation of the Global AIDS Alliance (GAA), launching a three-
pronged campaign to "accelerate action to reverse the global HIV/AIDS 
pandemic". GAA Co-Director Dr. Paul Zeitz said, "Using the combined 
voices and actions of our constituencies, the GAA is committed to 
generating the political will that is necessary to ensure that an ex-
panded and comprehensive response to the HIV/AIDS crisis is imple-
mented and achieves results. ... The work that we have to do together 
is immense. But the energy and commitment of our expanding number of 
partners is even greater" (GAA release, 3/29). 

As part of its first action, the group announced an effort to con-
vince Congress to approve US$ 2.5 billion to fight AIDS in Africa. 
Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) said, "The all-out effort to sort of 
bring this issue one inch away from everybody's face around the coun-
try, I want to lend my support to that" (Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 
3/30). The group also intends to launch the Meds-for-All campaign to 
build on work already completed by treatment access groups, as well 
as another campaign in which the group will assist the Jubilee coali-
tions, an "international movement" calling for debt cancellation for 
countries that are unable to pay, with their debt-relief initiatives 
(Brown, ReutersHealth, 3/29). 

The GAA also will co-sponsor the "Stop-Global-AIDS-Now" rally and 
march in New York City on June 23, coinciding with the United Nations 
General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS. The GAA comprises the 
following initial collaborating partners: African Services Committee, 
AFRICARE, American Jewish World Service, Black Church Communal Net-
work, Constituency for Africa, Drop-the-Debt Campaign, Health Gap 
Coalition, Jubilee USA Network, Malawi Network of People Living with 
HIV/AIDS, Pan African Charismatic Evangelical Congress, Student 
Global AIDS Campaign and the United Methodist Church (GAA release, 

British Lawmakers Criticize African Governments for Lack of Effort in 
Fighting HIV/AIDS

The British Parliament's International Development Committee yester-
day called for increased spending to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and 
"slammed" the governments of sub-Saharan nations for not "do[ing] 
more" to combat the disease. Reuters reports that the committee 
criticized what it found to be "a serious failure in political lead-
ership and governance among central and southern African governments 
in dealing with the disease." It also criticized the governments for 
failing to sponsor "low-cost measures," such as education campaigns 
and condom distribution programs, that would help reduce the spread 
of HIV/AIDS (Reuters, 3/28). 

Committee members said they were "shocked by the shortage" of condoms 
in some of the countries (BBC News, 3/29). The committee also criti-
cized Britain's Department for International Development for "lacking 
an overall HIV/AIDS strategy" and called for changes to development 
programs and policies that would "take account of the sweeping impact 
of HIV/AIDS." In addition, the committee called for more funding to 
fight the virus (Reuters, 3/28). Unless steps are taken to improve 
the situation in the near future, the committee warned, some parts of 
Africa will face a "real danger of [their] systems and infrastructure 
collapsing." Committee Chair Bowen Wells said, "As the report shows, 
HIV/AIDS is having an impact beyond the lives of those infected; 
health and education systems, the economy, agriculture and security 
are all threatened" (BBC News, 3/29).

Cecilia Snyder

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