Johannesburg: Southern African countries, hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, are likely to be most affected over the next three years as funding from one of the world`s biggest donors dries up, a coalition of AIDS activists said on Monday.The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria called off its next funding round after failing to secure the minimum USD13 billion needed to fund its programs. The fund said earlier this month it was cutting new grants for countries battling the diseases.The public-private fund is the single largest donor body for HIV funding and provides more than 70 percent of funds for life-saving antiretroviral drugs in developing nations.Southern African countries that rely heavily on Global Fund aid, including Swaziland, Malawi and Zimbabwe and Mozambique, are expected to see increasing fatalities and infections as a result of funding shortfalls. Stockpiles of life-saving antiretroviral (ARV) medication are also expected to drop."It is a disaster for Zimbabwe as a country," said Faizel Tezera, international medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres head in Zimbabwe."More than 86,000 people will be left without treatment and about 5,000 children will be affected," Tezera told reporters.
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