How will Global Fund grants translate into lives saved?

Paul Farmer, MD, Partners in Health, Haiti: It will change our situation like coming across an oasis changes the plight of a wanderer in the desert. We have been limited chiefly by lack of resources -- money and meds -- and now, for the first time in 20 years, we’ll have most of what we need.

Eduardo Ticano, MD, National Health Council, Peru: The money will finally get HIV meds to people whose lives depend on them. We applied specifically for subsidies of only 40 percent the first year and 30 percent the second year, so that the government will make up the balance and offer access to all of Peru’s HIVers.

Humberto Cosenza, Health Ministry’s HIV Advisor, Honduras: We will be able to offer enough condoms and prevention information to stop at least 20,000 new infections over the next five years. We will be able to educate and litigate in order to drastically reduce the human-rights violations of PWAs in our country. Above all, we will be able to offer antiretroviral therapy to everyone who has HIV. This will increase their life expectancy from 31 years to 69 -- the nation’s average.

What has the situation been like without Global Fund money?

Elena Vesselovskaia, Project Manager, Vozvrastcheniye (“Return”), Russia: In 2001, the number of new HIV infections was 1 in 465 -- six times higher than in the year 2000 and 100 times higher than in 1999. Right now there is basically no antiretroviral treatment for PWAs. The Global Fund money will start the process of treatment.

What would you like to say to wealthy donor nations?

Mario Vicente Serpas Mondoya, MD, National Fund Committee Director, El Salvador: They should consider that by helping countries such as ours fight this epidemic, the whole world benefits -- especially as globalization and the pandemic grow every day.

Humberto Cosenza: We should already start discussing ways to make sustainable the many gains in the fight against these three terrible -- but treatable -- killers. It is very important that this be a permanent effort -- not just five years.

What happens if the Global Fund runs dry?

Paul Farmer: We hope the burden of disease will be less and the epidemics more contained. But there’s no reason that the money, which comes from global excess, should run out -- the rich countries can easily afford to share their gains with the developing world. We need not only to stop the steady draining of resources from the poor world, but to give back what we’ve taken away over the last few centuries.