Global perspective Human stories

UN study finds overall drop in funding for AIDS response in 2010


UN study finds overall drop in funding for AIDS response in 2010

Funding disbursements from donor governments for the AIDS response in low- and middle-income countries dropped overall in 2010, mainly due to a reduction by the largest donor, the United States, the lead United Nations agency tackling the epidemic said today.

According to an annual funding analysis carried out by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Kaiser Family Foundation, donor governments disbursed $6.9 billion in 2010 for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

This is $740 million – or 10 per cent – less than in 2009, a joint news release stated, noting that the decrease was due to a combination of three main factors. They are actual reductions in development assistance, currency exchange fluctuations, and a slowdown in the pace of US disbursements, which was not a budget cut.

The overall drop was primarily attributed to a reduction in US disbursements, which accounted for 54 per cent of total donor disbursements in 2010. While the US Congress appropriated similar levels of funding for the AIDS response in 2010 as in 2009 – some $5.5 billion in each year – disbursements declined from $4.4 billion in 2009 to $3.7 billion in 2010.

Of the 15 governments surveyed, seven – Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the US – reported a year-over-year decrease in their disbursements as measured in their own currencies.

To reach universal access goals towards HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, UNAIDS estimates that an investment of at least $22 billion will be needed by 2015. Raising this level of funding could avert more than 12 million new HIV infections and more than seven million deaths, according to the Geneva-based agency.

“AIDS is a smart investment even in this difficult economic environment. We have to look beyond the near-term costs and recognize the long-term benefits,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé.

“Donors need to make and follow through on commitments today to reduce costs in the future.”

At the UN High-Level Meeting on AIDS in June, Member States committed to bold new targets for the AIDS response, including scaling up investments for AIDS to between $22 billion and $24 billion by 2015.