Why worldwide HIV funding is taking a nosedive

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Credit: Arya Diaz/Getty Images

As the novel coronavirus continues to squeeze government budgets, experts note there are more questions and uncertainties on the future of HIV funding.

HIV funding declined in 2019, with donor government disbursements at $7.8 billion, according to the latest report by the Kaiser Family Foundation published this week during AIDS 2020. This represents a $200 million decrease in donor funding for HIV, comparable to 2008 levels.

The decline was mainly driven by declining U.S. disbursements, although the report also identified decreased disbursements from other donors such as Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

“You would expect that in the case of a health crisis, that domestic spending on health would increase, but that’s not necessarily the case,” said Amanda Glassman, executive vice president and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development.

Related article:  Eliminating HIV by 2030 a real possibility, but 'we're not getting off to the right start'

Experts Devex has spoken to are not aware of any new initiatives that could inject additional resources to the global HIV response. But the HIV community should start working on a post-COVID-19 investment case for HIV programs, said José Zuniga, president and CEO at the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care. This should include communicating successes in the fight against HIV and the usefulness of long-established HIV infrastructure to the COVID-19 response.

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