Thousands of protesters marched on the U.S. consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa and demanded the United States increase its HIV/AIDS funding for Africa, reports the AP.
"The protesters, clad in green T-shirts emblazoned with the words "HIV-Positive," marched before the consulate in a wealthy northern suburb of Johannesburg to demand that the U.S. government increase its contribution to the Global Fund on AIDS, TB and Malaria to $2.8 billion by 2013. Protest organizers said the lack of a significant increase in the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – a major funder of AIDS programs around the world – has led clinics to run out of drugs and forced providers to ration treatment.
"Officials from the international program, known as PEPFAR, say this year's budget had increased only marginally, from $6.8 billion in 2010 to nearly $7 billion for 2011. ... U.S. officials in South Africa said in a statement that the country's share has increased, and that 'the U.S. remains fully committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS, especially in Africa, and remains the largest funder and technical adviser of the global response.'"
On May 13 in New York City, a similar demonstration protested the Administration's record on HIV/AIDS funding in Africa.
South Africa boasts an estimated 5.7 million people infected with HIV, more than any other nation in the world.
In April, South Africa launched the world's largest HIV testing and treatment program, aimed at providing drugs to 80% of HIV-positive people and testing 15 million people by June 2011. The ambitious strategy comes after years of AIDS denialist leadership by the South African government—and an estimated of 365,000 HIV-related deaths that could have been prevented.