Independent European Daily Express
Original Article: bit.ly/1zpHqn4
Marginalised communities and civil society groups helping them are warning of a â€œtragedyâ€ in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) as international funding for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) programmes in the regions is cut back.
The EECA is home to the worldâ€™s only growing HIV/AIDS epidemic and is the single most-affected region by the spread of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB). For years, HIV/AIDS and TB programmes in many of its countries have been heavily, or exclusively, reliant on funding from theGlobal Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
But this year has seen the Global Fund move to a new financing model based on national income statistics, under which funding in many EECA countries has already been â€“ or will soon be â€“ heavily cut.
Some of those likely to be most heavily affected by the cuts say that the reduction in Global Fund financing is putting essential HIV/AIDS and TB services, and with it lives, at risk.
Viktoria Lintsova of the Eurasian Network of People Who Use Drugs (ENPUD) told IPS: â€œThis could lead to tragedy because governments are not yet ready to take on the responsibility for addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I would like decision-makers to understand that this is not just [about] epidemiological statistics but that our lives and health are at stake.â€
At the heart of their concerns are worries over funding for not just medical treatment for existing patients but prevention and other services for at risk and marginalised communities.
Injection drug use has been identified as the main driver of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the EECA but HIV/AIDS is also being increasingly spread among men who have sex with men and sex workers â€“ groups which are heavily marginalised because of political and societal attitudes to homosexuality and women.
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