AIDS funding still falling short - UN

Despite an improvement in funding to tackle HIV/AIDS in Africa, UNAIDS said on Sunday that pledges still fell far short of what was needed.

In a report released at the current international AIDS conference in Nairobi, Kenya, UNAIDS warned that some countries had been so crippled by the pandemic that they risked instability.

"This new crisis ... is reducing the productivity, is changing completely the pyramid of population. It is influencing the whole capacity of the state to continue to play its normal function by providing basic services to the people," UNAIDS director in charge of country and regional support, Michel Sidibe, told a press conference.

Although close to US $1 billion was spent during 2002, "it's half of what we need to confront this epidemic in the continent, but it's already a doubling of what we had a few years ago," Sidibe said.