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Volume 412: debated on Friday 11 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support she is giving to international efforts to tackle the spread of HIV and AIDS through (a) financial support and (b) the availability of medical treatments. [106760]

My Department continues to give support to international efforts to tackle the spread of HIV and AIDS. In our bilateral programmes alone, expenditure on HIV/AIDS related work has increased from £38 million in 1997–98 to over £200 million in 2001–02. Major new investments include support for programmes in Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Russia, Ghana, China and India totalling over £350 million. We have pledged US$200 million to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and £30 million to the international AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the Medical Research Council's Microbicide Development Programme. Considerable additional resources have also been committed to United Nations agencies and civil society organisations to help combat HIV/AIDS and to help people living with the disease across the developing world. We will continue to support health system strengthening and comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, care, control and impact mitigation programmes.We are currently working intensively to improve access to affordable, new and existing medicines, including for HIV/AIDS, for poor people in developing countries. In November 2002, the Prime Minister launched the Report of the High Level Working Group on Access to Medicines. The Group brought together UK Government, and involved partners to facilitate widespread voluntary differential pricing of essential medicines for the poorer developing countries as the operational norm. The report proposes that pharmaceutical companies provide drugs for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria at near to cost of manufacture to the poorest countries, and my Department is working hard to achieve these ambitions. We also support the Global Fund whose primary role is to provide drugs and commodities for the prevention and treatment of AIDS, TB and Malaria and some associated health system strengthening.