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Volume 406: debated on Thursday 5 June 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what assessment the Department has made of the latest report by the Global HIV Prevention Working Group; and if he will make a statement. [116194]

We welcome the report by the Global Working Group, Access to HIV prevention: Closing The Gap. It is the first attempt to assess the gap between HIV prevention needs and existing provision.While the report emphasises the increased need for prevention, it also recognises that prevention works best where care and treatments are also available. DFID has been working towards a combined approach of prevention and care for several years and will continue to support Governments in improving their overall provision of services in the future.The recommendations made in the report echo DFID"s existing HIV/AIDS priorities, in support of which we have invested over £250 million in 2002–03. DFID has also committed £14 million to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI),£16 million to the Medical Research Council's Microbicides Development Programme, and £3 million annually to UNAIDS. In addition, we have committed over £1.5 billion since 1997 to support the development of health systems in poorer countries. Strengthening such systems is vital if drugs are to be safely and sustainably supplied to the poor. DFID as the second largest contributor to the Global Fund has also just increased its contribution by $80 million to a total of $280million in recognition of the need to accelerate efforts to reduce infections globally.