The Tories’ plans to cut foreign aid, from £14bn to £10bn a year, include an 83% cut to the UN agency that fights AIDS and HIV.
UK funding to UNAIDS will fall from £15m to £2.5m. UNAIDS’s total core budget this year was £132m.
UN agencies are generally restrained when they criticise governments, but UNAIDS pointed out:
“It affects the provision of live-saving HIV prevention and treatment services around the world.
“It affects the empowerment of young women and adolescent girls and their access to sexual and reproductive health and rights across the world, and Africa in particular. It impacts on support to upholding the human rights of some of the most marginalised people, including lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer and intersex people in low- and middle-income countries. It reduces global health security.”
A spokeswoman for the STOPAIDS network of organisations said:
“These cuts will hit the most marginalised communities around the world hardest. It threatens to undo decades of progress made in the HIV response that UK aid has made possible.”
The charity Frontline AIDS said:
“For the first time in decades, there is a very real threat of hard-won progress on HIV and AIDS going into reverse.
“These cuts by the UK government will actively increase that risk, setting the stage for a surge in HIV rates and AIDS deaths across many countries.
“The UK government might also reflect on the fact that HIV, much like Covid-19, doesn’t recognise borders.
“An increase in rates in any country should and will eventually become an issue for every country.”