MANILA, PHILIPPINES (27 December 2010) - The Government of Sweden is extending an additional SEK35,000,000 (about $5 million equivalent) to an Asian Development Bank (ADB)-administered trust fund which is helping combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific.

The new assistance, which will be released in three installments from 2010 to 2012, follows Sweden's initial contribution of about $14.3 million equivalent to the Cooperation Fund for Fighting HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, which was established in 2005. The latest commitment from Sweden brings its total contribution to the fund to about $19.3 million.

"The fund is an important instrument for helping ADB's developing member countries implement effective responses to HIV/AIDS," said Tadashi Kondo, Head of ADB's Office of Cofinancing Operations. "It has supported increased dialogue and partnerships, resulting in more focused and results-oriented interventions."

HIV/AIDS remains a serious scourge across much of Asia and the Pacific, with estimates that around 4.9 million people in Asia alone are living with the virus. The HIV prevalence is increasing in such low-prevalence countries as Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, the Philippines and Tajikistan in recent years, with women and girls particularly vulnerable.

ADB has been helping developing member countries tackle the epidemic on many fronts, and is currently embarking on a new strategic response to focus on systematic prevention of HIV/AIDS risks in infrastructure projects, region-wide activities, cost-effective interventions targeted at those most at risk, and policy dialogue.

The fund is a multidonor facility which provides grants to help countries push forward national and regional initiatives to combat the epidemic through evidence-based interventions, leverage new financing, and support pilot demonstration projects for up-scaling and replication using cost-effective and evidence-based good practices. It works in partnership and complements the work of other major development agencies.