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HIV/AIDS

Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department is committing to the G8 summit goals relating to the provision of treatment for HIV/AIDS. (75675)

The UK has committed itself to spending £1.5 billion between 2005-06 and 2007-08 to support activities to tackle the spread of HIV and AIDS. This will be used for activities which support the expansion of comprehensive HIV prevention programmes, treatment, care and support with the aim of fulfilling the Gleneagles commitment to universal access by 2010. We are working with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), which is leading the global effort of other donors, multilateral agencies, civil society and the private sector to ensure that additional resources are committed to support our efforts to achieve universal access.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to ensure the promotion of preventative strategies for HIV/AIDS. (75680)

The UK is playing a substantial leadership role in AIDS, and a key part of this is promoting access to HIV prevention strategies as well as to AIDS treatment and care. For example, the UK used its European Union (EU) presidency to work with the European Commission and with member states to agree a common EU position on HIV prevention—the EU statement on HIV prevention for an AIDS-free generation. The EU statement advises on the importance of comprehensive, rights and evidence- based approaches to HIV prevention. This year the UK has worked hard to ensure that this advice is reflected in the outcome of the AIDS United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting and we continue to press for such recognition in other key fora, including the forthcoming G8 meetings.

DFID provides support so that national governments in poor countries can develop and implement the policies and strategies that are necessary to ensure that the people who need them have access to comprehensive HIV prevention programmes, information, services and supplies including those for the promotion of sexual and reproductive health.

The UK has committed £1.5 billion to AIDS work over the period 2005-2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what conditions are attached to the funding his Department gives to African countries for the treatment of HIV/AIDS to ensure that the funding is directed towards the appropriate agencies and treatments. (75681)

DFID's policy on ‘Partnerships for Poverty Reduction: Rethinking Conditionally’ (launched in March 2005) is that we will not make aid conditional on specific policy decisions. However, we believe that an effective aid partnership should be based on a shared commitment to three objectives: reducing poverty and achieving the millennium development goals; respecting human rights and other international obligations; and strengthening financial management and accountability, to reduce the risk of funds being misused through weak administration or corruption. We will consider reducing or interrupting aid if partner Governments deviate significantly from any of these objectives.

In supporting HIV and AIDS programmes in Africa, DFID uses a range of different funding channels to help ensure that resources are directed towards appropriate agencies and treatments. In countries with sound poverty reduction plans and public financial management, we can put poverty reduction budget support directly into a Government's treasury. We can also earmark funding for specific Government sector budgets. And we also fund projects, especially when it is not possible to work through Government budgets. In all cases, DFID officials work closely with Governments and civil society to help ensure that policy and programme choices are appropriate. We also monitor the progress and impact of programmes that we fund and take lessons into account when making future decisions.

In addition, DFID is currently undertaking an assessment of mechanisms for channelling DFID funding to the point of care for orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV (OVCs).

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to encourage the development of new generic versions of drugs for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. (75682)

The United Kingdom (UK) is committed to increasing access to medicines in developing countries, including the development of new generic drugs for HIV/AIDS. To this end we are working with Governments, international organisations, pharmaceutical companies, academia and private foundations. There have been some important successes over the last few years such as the doubling of UK funding to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria to £100 million in 2006-07 and £100 million in 2007-08, resulting in long-term policy and financial signals to ensure a sustainable supply of key drugs. In addition, the UK has increased its direct funding for research to develop vaccines and medicines for diseases disproportionately affecting the poor, in particular through the financing of Product Development Partnerships (PDPs).

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's strategy is for ensuring that the Gleneagles G8 summit goals in relation to rapid expansion of treatment for HIV/AIDS are achieved; and if he will make a statement. (75684)

The UK's strategy for tackling the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the developing world is set out in the Government's strategy ‘Taking Action’. We have also worked closely with the Joint United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), with other Governments and multilateral agencies and through the Global Steering Committee on Scaling Up Towards Universal Access (which DFID co-chaired with UNAIDS) to set out the priorities for action in order to achieve the Gleneagles commitment to achieve universal access to prevention, treatment and care by 2010. These priorities were reflected in the Political Declaration agreed at the United Nations General Assembly on AIDS (2 June 2006), which provides a political blueprint for achieving universal access.

The UK played an active role in negotiations. It set out commitments for countries to develop, by the end of 2006, ambitious national plans to scale up towards universal access by 2010 to comprehensive HIV prevention programmes, treatment, care and support, with interim targets for 2008; to provide $20-23 billion annually by 2010 for AIDS responses; to put in place comprehensive prevention strategies; to promote the rights and reduce the vulnerability of sex workers, men who have sex with men, children, women, adolescent girls and drug users; to intensify efforts to develop new technology especially microbicides and vaccines; to ensure that no credible, sustainable national plan goes unfunded; to reaffirm the importance of countries employing the flexibilities within Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) to protect public health; and to strengthen countries' capacities to do so.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures his Department is taking to encourage the pharmaceutical industry to develop paediatric drugs for children with HIV in the developing world. (75686)

The United Kingdom (UK) is committed to increasing access to medicines in developing countries, including the development of paediatric drugs for children with HIV. To this end, DFID is working with Governments, international organisations, pharmaceutical companies, academia and private foundations. For example, the launch of the UK Government policy document ‘Increasing peoples access to medicines in developing countries: a framework for good practice in pharmaceutical industry’ in March 2005, encourages pharmaceutical companies to reduce prices of existing formulations, develop new products, provide voluntary licences to others to develop paediatric formulations and produce fixed dose combinations.

More recently, the UK has agreed to support the French initiative on setting up an international drugs purchase facility (IDPF). We expect this to have a positive impact on stimulating the pharmaceutical industry to develop paediatric drugs.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the likelihood of the Gleneagles G8 summit target of ensuring universal access to HIV treatment being achieved by 2010. (75687)

The United Nations General Assembly met from 31 May to 2 June to discuss progress on the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on AIDS, which sets out the international community's commitment to halt and reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS. The UN Secretary-General presented to this meeting an assessment of progress which underlines the challenge that we face in meeting the Gleneagles commitment to provide universal access to prevention, treatment and care by 2010. The Secretary- General's report shows that only 9 per cent. of HIV-infected pregnant women are currently on anti-retrovirals, and that only 20 per cent. of people with advanced HIV are on anti-retrovirals. While this shows the scale of outstanding need, it is noteworthy that since 2001 the number of Africans on treatment has risen eight-fold. A full copy of the report can be found on the Joint United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) website at: http://daccessods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=A/60/736&Lang=E.