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Lives of HIV Positive Zimbabweans In Jeopardy As Donor Funds Dry Up

Dr. Lisa Sterman holds a bottle of Truvada pills that she prescribes for about a dozen patients at high risk for developing AIDS, at her office in San Francisco, May 20, 2012.

The National Aids Council has raised concern that if no alternative funding is found for the procurement of HIV/Aids drugs, the lives of some 350 000 Zimbabweans receiving the life-saving medication may be jeopardized.

NAC Financial Director Albert Manenji told state media the anticipated shortages were a result of donor fatigue.

He said the problem would be further compounded by the withdrawal of the Global Fund, which has been funding 35 percent of the country’s needs.

“We have to come up with a number of strategies to deal with the issue, and one of them is to efficiently and effectively use the funds that we have,” he said.

The Global Fund, which has been supporting HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria programs in the past 10 years, may suspend support in 2014 owing to financial constraints faced by donor countries as a result of the global recession.

Aids activist Obert Banda told VOA the impending shortages of ARVs is likely to have a devastating impact because not many people can afford the life-saving drugs.

“We cannot imagine the impact that this would have on those living with HIV because already some people who just found out their HIV status will not want to start the ARV program,” said Banda.