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Mandela warns of HIV/AIDS fund shortage

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Sep 27, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela warns the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria could run out of funds in two years.

Speaking to the Times of London, Mandela said international donors have contributed barely half of the $8.6 billion they had pledged to give by 2008.

"Once the current spirit of global commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS is lost it will never be restored," he said.

Mandela praised the success of projects supported by the fund in Brazil, India and Thailand, as well as in South Africa.

Separately, the BBC reported South Africa's health ministry has denied charges it is not doing enough to fight HIV/AIDS. The ministry said a trade union leader who made the charges is "irresponsible" and "needs to get his facts straight".

The union leader also accused South African President Thabo Mbeki of a "failure of leadership."

The health ministry said 61,000 people were being treated with anti-retroviral drugs in public hospitals and not just 10,000 as claimed by the union leader.


Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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