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China, HIV and the Global Fund

World Aids Day at the beginning of December was a mixed occasion.  With new HIV infections decreasing worldwide and more people with access to treatment, there was cause for celebration.  At the same time, the Global Fund, which provides about 70 per cent of these medications has not secured sufficient donations for its next round of fundingand will not be receiving grant applications until at least 2014.

Now, as ‘traditional’ donors cut back, that it’s time to see emerging economies get more involved.  The Global Fund’s disappointing announcement was shortly followed by a welcome one from China: that they would be increasing their commitment to fighting the disease within China and are able to fill the gap left by the Global Fund. (Currently, China is receiving just under a billion US dollars from the Global Fund, one-third of which is for HIV/AIDS.)  This announcement was part of a wider statement by Vice Premier Li Keqiang which laid out a five-year plan to further expand and strengthen China’s HIV/AIDS existing programmes.

At the Global Fund’s November board meeting, there was already support for rules limiting the funding to a number of middle-income countries, including China.  China’s announcement shows political commitment to fighting the disease and will hopefully influence other countries to follow. We are pleased to see China taking this step, but also hope it is not an indication they will not actively participate in multilateral actions to address the epidemic globally.