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Amid concerns that the global fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic is losing support, the United States will renew the effort for an "AIDS free generation" with a pledge of an additional $150 million.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the funding at the International AIDS Conference in Washington on Monday, outlining initiatives to stem the spread of HIV by targeting high-risk populations, increasing support for preventative measures like male circumcision, and limiting mother-to-child infection with treatment options, the Associated Press reports. The U.N. estimates some 34.2 million people are living with AIDS around the world.
The goal of an "AIDs free generation" is that no babies will be born infected with HIV. An additional objective is to reach out to high-risk populations, like gay men, sex workers, and drug users, who are often driven away from seeking treatment because of stigma.
"This is a fight we can win," Clinton told the conference. "We’ve already come so far, too far to stop now." Recent U.N. figures show a decline in AIDS-related deaths worldwide, which last year fell to 1.7 million, significantly less than the 2005 peak of 2.3 million, according to the Reuters.
Microsoft-founder Bill Gates, whose foundation has pledged upwards of $1 billion in global AIDS funding, is among those expressing concerns that difficult financial times could lead countries to cut their support for the effort. However, the U.S. has been a consistent leader in combating the epidemic, last year donating nearly half of the $16.8 billion spent on AIDS treatment and prevention worldwide.