Italy may be hosting a major conference on AIDS this week in Rome but the government has stopped paying contributions for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, participants at the meeting complained on Wednesday.
Italy failed to register any high-level official to take part in the conference, with Health Minister Ferruccio Fazio showing up only on the last day on Wednesday and making a speech that was disrupted by several hecklers.
The talks bring together 5,500 experts, scientists and health professionals.
Italy is behind with $260 million (183 million euros) in fund contributions it was supposed to make in 2009 and 2010. It has made no pledge for 2011.
Rome mayor Giovanni Alemanno wrote to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi earlier, urging the government to resume payments into the fund.
"Abandoning efforts now would risk a new wave of infection," he said.