COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Aids charities push for improvements in access to drugs

HIV/Aids charities including the Terrence Higgins Trust and Crusaid are adding their voices to an international campaign to provide sufferers in the developing world with access to Aids drugs.

This week representatives from UK-based charities will join their compatriots from the international Aids lobby at the Barcelona 2002 HIV/AIDS Conference.

Delegates from international development charities including Oxfam, Save the Children, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Christian Aid and CAFOD will also attend.

The charities hope to embarrass governments into raising the amount of cash available through the Global Fund for Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.

The fund was supposed to have an annual budget of £7 billion a year but at present only has 5 per cent of that figure. The UK's present contribution comes from its existing aid and development budget and does not amount to additional spending.

Christian Aid, Save the Children and Oxfam have all produced research for the conference, which they hope will help secure widespread media coverage.

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