Since it was founded in 2002, the Global Fund has been a leader in the world’s successful response to HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. All told, its efforts have saved nearly 9 million lives. The Global Fund also plays a key role in helping developing countries change the course of these three epidemics.
For example, when people have early access to HIV testing and treatment, they not only save their own lives but they dramatically reduce their chances of infecting others. Moreover, a simple preventive procedure like voluntary medical male circumcision lowers a man’s chance of acquiring HIV — and potentially transmitting it to his partner — by about 60%. Overall, effective prevention and treatment programs have helped reduce new HIV infections by a third since 2001.
That last number is crucial, because preventing new HIV infections is absolutely essential to ending AIDS. Developing a vaccine to prevent HIV remains critical, and scientific researchers are achieving exciting breakthroughs. In the meantime, we need to develop new technologies that women can use to protect themselves. Condoms are a great way to prevent the spread of HIV, but they require the cooperation of both partners.
The Global Fund doesn’t just provide money for pills and other health products. It channels its resources into training new generations of doctors, nurses, and health care workers. It helps developing countries build stronger health systems. This approach guarantees that the money donors invest in the Global Fund has a long-term impact on overall health and quality of life in dozens of countries.
Put simply: The Global Fund isn’t just one of the kindest things people have ever done for each other — it’s also one of the smartest investments the world has ever made.
[Read Bill Gates full opinion piece]