PEPFAR ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR HIV/AIDS RELIEF IN 2006

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The US government has announced a HIV/AIDS relief budget of US$3.2bn for 2006, as part of the five-year US$15bn PEPFAR programme. Under the scheme, 15 countries -- of which 12 are in Africa -- are designated as focus areas due to high incidences of the disease.

PEPFAR's goals include providing treatment for 2mn HIV/AIDS sufferers, preventing 7mn new infections and caring for 10mn people with the disease. However, European countries have heavily criticised the US approach to combating HIV/AIDS.

Nevertheless, according to UN-backed AIDS groups, efforts to combat the epidemic in Africa could be having an effect, with Kenya reporting a decrease in prevalence from 10% to 7%. A US-based charity has also recently donated KES15mn (US$ 0.20mn) to Kenya's National AIDS Control Council. The grant will be used to help the country increase access to life-saving treatments and will aid Kenya's attempts to secure further financing from the multi-billion dollar Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.