The deteriorating situation inside Venezuela demands international action, especially where health services are concerned. The Venezuelan Network of Positive People (RVG+) sent a letter to the Global Fund Board in June 2016 requesting that they make an income-classification exemption and provide direct aid to Venezuela to support HIV and TB services, which they described as “deplorable.” Seven months later, on 18 January 2017 the Global Fund responded, saying that it would not be able to provide any support to Venezuela. This is not acceptable.
As the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) noted: “With some of the highest HIV infection, teen pregnancy and STI rates on the continent, Venezuela is in the midst of a public health crisis that is imperiling the health, safety and wellbeing of people living with HIV. Due to constant treatment interruptions more and more people living with HIV are acquiring TB, or suffering and dying from life threatening skin rashes, eye diseases and other easily preventable opportunistic infections.”
“My heart hurts for the unnecessary suffering of people living with and affected by HIV and TB in my country. And as an advocate, I share the frustrations of RVG+ and all the others who have called on the Global Fund to get help to Venezuelans,” said ICASO Executive Director, Mary Ann Torres. “We must find a way. This is exactly why the Global Fund was created: to respond when governments don’t have the resources or the will to address HIV, TB and malaria adequately.”
On 31 January 2017 RVG+ responded to the Global Fund and reiterated the dire situation and desperate plea for assistance. The letter highlights that, “In previous years and under a different management, the Global Fund and its Board of Directors implemented flexible measures that adapted and allowed exceptions to offer special or extraordinary assistance to countries in critical situations….”
ICASO stands with RGV+ and strongly encourages our partners and friends to do so as well by signing the petition at change.org which demands that, “the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria urgently approve exceptional funding for Venezuela, through some of its Technical Partners (United Nations Agencies), as well as through civil society organizations.”