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Donor governments must honour G8 HIV commitments. Ten million people still unable to access vital treatment

This year’s World AIDS Day represents a critical milestone in international governments’ responses towards fighting the on-going global HIV epidemic.

Although December 2010 marks the G8 deadline set at the 2005 Millennium Summit to provide universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support for the 33.3 million people living with HIV worldwide, there are still approximately 10 million who desperately need immediate treatment but are unable to access it.

‘In this financial climate, it is tempting for governments to reduce their spending on international development and focus their energies at home, so the UK government has been brave in maintaining its commitment to spend 0.7% GNP on development,’ says Nina O’Farrell, Christian Aid’s Head of HIV.

‘However, despite significant progress in expanding access to HIV treatment – more than five million people in low- and middle-income countries now receive life-saving antiretroviral (ARV) therapy compared to just 500,000 in 2003 – new infections continue to out-pace those receiving treatment by two to one worldwide.

‘This demonstrates that we cannot be complacent and must maintain a strong focus on HIV prevention, yet it is unclear how much money will now be channeled towards diseases of poverty such as HIV,’ O’Farrell continues.

‘The Department for International Development (DFID) is preparing a much needed malaria business plan, but where is its plan for HIV?

‘Now is the time to beef up our response to HIV, not cut back. There is a very real danger that we could lose significant gains if funding for HIV is not maintained, or indeed scaled-up.’

This World AIDS day, Christian Aid is calling on donor governments to maintain their commitments to the fight against HIV.

Christian Aid joins other UK civil society organisations in calling for the UK to commit its fair share of £840 million to Global Fund for 2011-13.

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If you would like further information, please contact Emma Pomfret on 020 7523 2427 / epomfret@christian-aid.org, or Winnie Ssanyu Sseruma on wssanyus@christian-aid.org, or call the 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950.

Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk