The United Kingdom's development minister Gareth Thomas announced a new $350 million U.K. fund for research into technologies such as vaccines and microbicides that will stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, The Guardian reports.

“Only through research will we find ways to halt this epidemic,” Thomas said. “I hope this funding will help discover new lifesaving technology.” The HIV/AIDS epidemic will spiral out of control unless more money and efforts are devoted to stopping it, said Thomas, speaking before a meeting of scientists and experts convened November 4 in London by the government.

Although U.N. statistics show that the epidemic's spread has slowed and that HIV medications are now at least partly available in the heavily affected developing world, Thomas emphasizes that all progress is meaningless unless we find a way to stop the spread of infection.

Five more people are infected for every two who are put on lifesaving drugs, according to the article, and 33 million people now live with the virus, which has orphaned 15 million children.