On Thursday, January 26, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a $750 million commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. As funding for HIV programming around the world declines, this news could not be timelier.

At the end of 2010, an estimated 34 million people were living with HIV, 5 million of whom are between the ages of 15 and 24.  While the number of new HIV cases continues to rise, funding for HIV/AIDS programming is on the decline. According to the Boston Globe, the governments ofItaly andSpain will not meet their HIV/AIDS funding pledges this year due to the European financial crisis. The U.S government’s funding to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief will be cut by 2 percent in 2012.  In November, before this new $750 million commitment from the Gates Foundation, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria had announced that it would not issue any new grants until 2014.

Bill Gates said, “These are tough economic times, but that is no excuse for cutting aid to the world’s poorest. The Global Fund is one of the most effective ways we invest our money every year.” This donation will raise the Gates Foundation’s total investment in the fund to $1.4 billion.