Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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The future of AIDS funding


Front cover of the report

A new report launched at the Global Health Council’s annual conference in Washington DC in June comes at a major crossroads in the history of the response to AIDS, as funding comes under pressure at a time of economic uncertainty.

Costs and Choices: Financing the long-term fight against aids outlines a number of scenarios that are dependant on the choices we make now.  Even in the most favourable scenario we shall see around 1.2 million new infections in 2031 and the resulting cost of the response will be well above current spending levels, ranging from $19 billion to $35 billion a year.  Last year, the world spent roughly $13 billion.  

The report was produced by the Costs and Financing Working Group of the aids2031 project – an initiative named for the year marking a half-century after the discovery of HIV.

Robert Hecht, an economist at Results for Development and author of the report, argues that now is the moment when wise policy decisions are needed in order to contain spending, improve the efficiency of resource use, and ensure fair and sustainable financing for the global AIDS effort.

Alvaro Bermejo, executive director of the Alliance, and member of the aids2031 working group, said: ‘Governments in the countries most affected by AIDS, their international partners, civil society organizations, and others on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic face a series of critical choices on how to approach HIV prevention and treatment that have dramatically different financial and health consequences.

‘This report makes a series of recommendations that can move the world toward a better future in dealing with AIDS, while using financial resources in a more efficient and affordable manner.’

One of the eight policy recommendations is around HIV prevention, an issue that the Alliance has identified as critical in its new strategic framework, HIV and healthy communities: strategy 2010-2012.  The Costs and Choices report states that prevention efforts must be intensified, particularly the focus on programs for most at-risk population groups, especially men who have sex with men, female commercial sex workers and injecting drug users.  These issues will be picked up in a new prevention campaign to be launched by the Alliance at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna in July.

The report recommends developing innovative financing mechanisms but it doesn’t go as far as pushing for financial transaction taxes – another issue that the Alliance has been campaigning on since last year.  Alvaro Bermejo commented: ‘AIDS advocates are missing an opportunity not pushing for a dedicated levy from financial transactions to fund global health efforts.  The report provides a glimpse of what a future without one might look like... and it’s not pretty!’  

You can read more about the Alliance’s efforts to fight for a levy on currency transactions, to invest in HIV and health financing in developing countries.