President Barack Obama announced a new initiative at the National Institutes of Health in pursuit of a cure for HIV, saying his administration is redirecting $100 million into the project.
"The United States should be at the forefront of new discoveries into how to put HIV into long-term remission without requiring lifelong therapies, or better yet, eliminate it completely," Obama said Monday at a White House event marking World AIDS Day, which was Sunday.
Obama also pledged that the United States would contribute up to $5 billion over the next three years to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — as long as other countries do their part and contribute $10 billion. The United States matches contributions to the Geneva-based Global Fund on a 1-to-2 funding ratio set by Congress. The new pledge represents $1 billion more than the United States committed during the previous round of funding in 2010.
The fund is trying to raise $15 billion to cover its programs from 2014 to 2016. The fund supports HIV therapy for more than 5 million people, as well as treatments for tuberculosis and malaria, and the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets.
Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, Germany and France announced separately that they had raised their contributions to the fund, created in 2002 to coordinate international efforts to fight infectious disease in low-income countries.
Also Monday, billionaire Bill Gates said he planned to nearly double his foundation's contribution to this next round of the Global Fund, to $500 million. Gates had pledged $300 million, but said that he would match an additional $200 million from private sources in an effort to draw in new donors.