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Political instability threatens global health gains, activists claim

Medical advances in the fight against HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and Hepatitis C are threatened by slackening political support and global medical research cuts, the Treatment Action Group has said.

TAG, a US-based activist network, launched its annual Pipeline Report documenting research and development trends and challenges on 18 July ahead of the International Aids Society’s 9th science conference in Paris, France.

The report warns that despite great technological advances in HIV/Aids, TB and Hepatite C virus medicine, “the gap between scientific possibility and political reality” has the potential of becoming “a yawning abyss”.

For this, it blames chiefly president Donald Trump’s plans to cut US health research, but also European austerity policies and under-investment by middle-income countries in their own health problems.

“The tremendous gains of the past three decades and our ability to ensure that all those who can benefit from them receive the prevention, treatment, support, information, and care that they need are under threat by the retrenchment and austerity imposed by Western governments on their own people and the flatlining of investment in research and global HIV and TB prevention and treatment programs,” TAC executive director Mark Harrington writes in his introduction to the report.

He adds: “Only massive community mobilisation and political intervention on behalf of our communities can ensure that the promise of the last 30 years of research, and of new R&D on HIV, TB, and HCV, can turn our situation from one of despair to one of lasting health, hope, and life.”