Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sweden adds to fund fighting HIV/AIDS in Asia-Pacific

The Government of Sweden is extending an additional SEK35,000,000 (about $5 million) to an Asian development Bank (ADB)-administered trust fund, which is helping combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific.

The new assistance, which will be released in three installments from 2010 to 2012, follows Sweden’s initial contribution of about $14.3 million equivalent to the Cooperation Fund for Fighting HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, which was established in 2005, the Manila-based ADB said in a statement Monday.

The latest commitment from Sweden brings its total contribution to the fund to about $19.3 million.

“The fund is an important instrument for helping ADB’s developing member countries implement effective responses to HIV/AIDS," said Tadashi Kondo, Head of ADB’s office of co-financing operations. 

“It has supported increased dialogue and partnerships, resulting in more focused and results-oriented interventions," Kondo added.

HIV/AIDS remains a serious scourge across much of Asia and the Pacific, with estimates that around 4.9 million people in Asia alone are living with the virus.

The HIV prevalence is increasing in such low-prevalence countries as Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, the Philippines and Tajikistan in recent years, with women and girls particularly vulnerable.

ADB has been helping developing member countries tackle the epidemic on many fronts, and is currently embarking on a new strategic response to focus on systematic prevention of HIV/AIDS risks in infrastructure projects, region-wide activities, cost-effective interventions targeted at those most at risk, and policy dialogue, the bank said.

The fund is a multi-donor facility which provides grants to help countries push forward national and regional initiatives to combat the epidemic through evidence-based interventions, leverage new financing, and support pilot demonstration projects for up-scaling and replication using cost-effective and evidence-based good practices. 

It works in partnership and complements the work of other major development agencies. — VS, GMANews.TV

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