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Fight against HIV/AIDS

France, one of the most affected countries in Europe, has devoted its energy to research since the very start of the pandemic. In May 1983, a French team isolated the HIV1 virus, the human immunodeficiency virus; in November 1985, the same team isolated HIV2 and developed a screening test. Similarly, since 1985, France has been involved in supporting the countries hit hardest by the pandemic: from 1987 to 1997, more than 100 million euros have been earmarked for these programmes funded through French Cooperation (in projects and technical assistance). The amounts France devotes annually to the fight against AIDS have increased considerably, moving from 95 million euros in 2003 to 180 million in 2005, to stand at more than 360 million euros in 2009.

Background

In its annual report published in November 2009, UNAIDS estimates that there are 33.4 million people in the world living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), including 1 million children.

There were 2.7 million new infections in 2007 and the HIV epidemic continues to be a major threat to global health. The number of adults and children with access to antiretroviral treatment moved from one-third in December 2007 to 42% in December 2008, which represents slightly more than 4 million individuals. In 66 low- or middle-income countries, the number of health establishments providing HIV screening and counselling services “posted growth of 35%”, states the report.

France’s multilateral commitment

In view of this pandemic that requires considerable financial mobilization and coordination of everyone’s efforts, France has opted to give priority to multilateral international cooperation, first with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis (GFFAMT) to which it dedicates more and more resources.

Since its creation, the Global Fund has received financial commitments of 20.9 billion dollars through 2010. It has already committed a total of 18.4 billion dollars, supporting 572 programmes in 140 countries. The Fund’s financing accounts for 23% of the financing for the fight against HIV/AIDS (the other lenders are the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief -PEPFAR- and the World Bank).

In addition, in September 2006, France created the IDPF with five partners (Brazil, Norway, etc.). This International Drug Purchase Facility is funded by the International Solidarity Levy (tax on air plane tickets), created by the law of 30 December 2005. In 2008, the IDPF’s budget stood at 350 million dollars and could reach 500 million in 2009. Action totalling more than 450 million dollars have already been undertaken since the initiative was launched.

France has also continued to support UNAIDS (more than 1.3 million euros in 2008) and has made four experts available at the head office and this structure’s Africa office, with funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Finally, France is financing nine experts at the WHO in Africa, with the objective of building the Organization’s capacities to support countries in implementing projects financed by the Global Fund.

France’s bilateral commitment

In 2008, bilateral aid in the area of health totalled approximately 197 million euros, all resources combined. Of this sum, 45.2 million euros were earmarked for the fight against AIDS.

The ESTHER public interest group (GIP) (Ensemble pour une Solidarité Thérapeutique Hospitalière en Réseau / Network for Therapeutic Solidarity in Hospitals) is France’s public operator for technical assistance in the fight against HIV and its co-infections. It was created in 2002 to take care of people infected with the AIDS virus. Active in 18 countries, it coordinates the activities of 52 French hospital teams, operating at 146 sites.

The objective of this GIP is to build local capacities in the fight against HIV and infectious diseases in developing countries. In 2009, it was allocated an 8 million euro grant divided equally between the MAEE and the Ministry of Health.

France’s commitment in terms of civil society

In France, associations fighting AIDS played a decisive role in recognizing patients’ rights. Today, a good number of them conduct projects to fight AIDS and international advocacy actions.

Aware of the importance of the actions of French NGOs in supporting civil societies in developing countries, the MAEE has set up regular mechanisms working and cooperating with NGOs.

The Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development created the platform for cooperation and exchanges on the fight against AIDS in developing countries on 11 December 2002. Indeed, given the scope and diversity of France’s commitments in the fight against AIDS, the need to offer a framework for consultation and exchange for all of the public and private players acting in developing countries has become apparent. In 2010, this platform should evolve into a flexible alliance of players, opening up more operational possibilities.

The ELSA platformbrings together six French NGOs (AIDES, Planning Familial, Sidaction, Sida Info Service, Solidarité Sida and CRIPS), which support their counterparts in developing countries, in order to build their capacities to implement expanded access programmes for antiretroviral treatments. This platform is funded by the MAEE in partnership with associations and makes it possible to run a network of 85 associations in the priority solidarity zone.

“The AIDS initiative” of the MAEE’s mission for relations with civil society, in collaboration with the AFD (French Development Agency) was designed to refocus the MAEE’s resources on targeted subjects, aiming to provide organizational and institutional support to non-governmental organizations in developing countries as well as advocacy support by developing a “human rights” approach. Methods have been defined together with NGOs. The Ministry has devoted about 6 million euros over three years (2007-2010) to this initiative, practically doubling the funds earmarked for NGOs in the fight against AIDS.

Updated on : 09.04.10


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