It’s welcome news that more than 80 countries have increased their domestic HIV and AIDS investments by over 50% in the past five years according to the latest data, and exceeded international investments for the first time. But let’s not get complacent and expect that the global HIV response can rely solely on domestic investments.
As the report notes, despite the increase in domestic funding, there is still a large shortfall in overall global funding for HIV – some $7 billion with at least half of this in sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of people living with HIV now live in middle income countries (MICs) but funding for HIV programmes is being directed by donors to low income countries. This means that interventions for most at risk populations are in danger of being seriously underfunded, which in turn will very likely lead to more new infections.
Countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa may now fund, on average, more than 75% of their domestic AIDS responses but Russia for example has the worst record of any European country when it comes to new HIV infection rates among people who use drugs and refuses to adopt a harm reduction approach with needle exchanges and medication assisted therapy.
On a more positive note, significant progress in increasing access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been made over the last year, an increase of 1.4 million since 2010, meaning that more than 8 million people worldwide now have access. With upwards of 7 million people still in need, we will not however meet the goal of getting treatment to 15 million people by 2015 without a huge effort to scale up.
Most disappointing perhaps was the news that there has been only a slight reduction in HIV incidence or deaths over the last few years. In 2010 there were 2.7 million new HIV infections; in 2011 there were 2.5 million. Similarly the number of AIDS-related deaths remained static. It should also be noted that, globally, women and girls still bear a disproportionate HIV burden.
Commenting on the findings, the Alliance’s Head of Policy Anton Ofield-Kerr said: “This is clearly a pivotal moment in the global campaign to stem HIV. Countries taking more of a lead in their own national HIV response and investing resources accordingly has got to be a good thing but the commitment of international donors must also continue apace if we are to really end AIDS once and for all.”
You can view the full report on the UNAIDS website.
This is a pivotal moment in the global campaign to stem HIV