GENEVA —The Government of Germany has announced that, in addition to its annual core contribution of €5 million, it will contribute a further €20 million to UNAIDS in 2020 to strengthen the response to HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, made the announcement during a meeting with Winnie Byanyima, the UNAIDS Executive Director, in Geneva, Switzerland, during the 46th meeting of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board.
“We commend UNAIDS’ work in the fight against COVID-19, which focuses on engaging communities, ensuring that vulnerable and key populations are reached with essential health services, including HIV services, protecting basic rights and mitigating the socioeconomic impacts of the epidemic,” said Mr Spahn. “With the additional funds, we encourage UNAIDS to continue this important work alongside the World Health Organization and other global health partners.”
The Government of Germany and parliamentarians, civil society and other partners in Germany have long shown commitment to the global HIV response and to global health and health security, with Germany pledging US$ 1 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at its last replenishment. A valued partner of UNAIDS, the Government of Germany is firmly committed to ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 and has invested significant resources to ensure that no one is left behind.
“UNAIDS welcomes this show of support by Germany. It is an encouraging recognition of the work undertaken by UNAIDS with countries and partners to respond to HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also a crucial recognition of the lessons and experiences gained over the past decades in the HIV response, which are now being used in the fight against COVID-19,” said Ms Byanyima. “I call upon others to follow Germany’s lead and continue to invest in the global HIV response.”
German’s increased support is a critical investment in saving lives and protecting the dignity of people living with or at risk of HIV. At a time when the world faces the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19, Germany is continuing to demonstrate the need for shared responsibility and global solidarity. Modelling suggests that an unmitigated six-month interruption of HIV services due to COVID-19 could double AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, setting the clock on AIDS-related deaths in the region back to 2008, and could increase new paediatric HIV infections by up to 162%.