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4 July 2005
The Stop AIDS Campaign is a coalition that brings together more than 70 of the UKs leading development and HIV/AIDS organizations. The campaign works to raise awareness in the UK about the HIV/AIDS and the need to scale up efforts for international action.
G8RG: What is your assessment of the G8 countries' action on the WHO 3x5 goal that aimed to place 3 million people on anti-retroviral treatments by 2005?
Kirsty McNeill: The target of treating 3 million people by 2005 is now unlikely to be met, and responsibility for that rests in large measure on the G8. Their failure to provide the necessary financing and sustained political will is all the more disappointing after their support for, and launch of, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
G8RG: Does the 'Stop Aids Campaign' deem the 3x5 target to be a sufficient framework to tackle the global pandemic of HIV/AIDS?
Kirsty McNeill: 3x5 was an ambitious and bold target, and unleashed a momentum which has saved thousands of lives. Epidemiologists suggest around 6 million people are in urgent clinical need of ARV, so a comprehensive treatment response would require a doubling of the 3x5 framework. A full spectrum of care and prevention would require much more than is currently planned with the 3x5 framework.
G8RG: What are your thoughts on the Commission for Africa Report's call to action to the international community to facilitate a coordinated response to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic in 2005? Do you expect the G8 leaders to apply these recommendations at the upcoming G8 Summit?
Kirsty McNeill: The G8 finance ministers have already accepted the Commission's recommendation for universal access to treatment by 2010. We would be bitterly disappointed if G8 leaders failed to honour this promise just a few weeks after it was made.
G8RG: Do you think that the US President George Bush's Global AIDS Initiative can be made compatible with the Commission's recommendations?
Kirsty McNeill: The programmes and plans undertaken by President Bush have contributed to the number of people currently receiving treatment. AIDS specialists are deeply concerned that these benefits could be undermined if coupled with approaches to prevention that lack a firm evidence base.
G8RG: In your view, what do the G8 leaders have to achieve at Gleneagles in order to adequately address the issue of HIV/AIDS epidemic?
Kirsty McNeill: The Stop AIDS Campaign is calling on G8 leaders to announce a 2010 target for universal access to treatment, and to earmark the funding which would make that possible. We also recognise that HIV can only be properly addressed if unjust trade, crippling debt and insufficient and ineffective aid stop stunting development.
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