Donor government funding to support HIV efforts in low- and middle-income countries fell for the first time in five years in 2015, decreasing from US$8.6 billion in 2014 to US$7.5 billion, finds a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) released in advance of the 2016 International AIDS Conference.
Funding for HIV declined for 13 of 14 donor governments assessed in the analysis, in part due to the significant appreciation of the U.S. dollar that resulted in the depreciation of most other donor currencies. Yet even after accounting for this, funding declined for the majority of governments assessed.
Total funding from the U.S. government fell from US$5.6 billion to US$5 billion, but this was mostly due to a timing issue as the U.S. shifted bilateral funds to 2016 while it implements new and expands existing programs. Without counting the US$411 million reduction in bilateral U.S. funding, most of which is expected to be provided in 2016, total funding declined overall by 8 percent.
“The decline in international funding for the HIV response is worrying,” said Luiz Loures, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director. “Countries still need urgent support over the next few years to Fast-Track their responses to HIV, enabling them to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 and save millions of lives. Diverting resources from the HIV response now will mean much greater human and financial costs over the long-term.”
The U.S. continued to provide the lion’s share of total funding (bilateral and multilateral) provided by donor governments (66.4%), followed by the U.K. (13%). France provided 3.7 percent of funding, Germany provided 2.7 percent, and the Netherlands provided 2.3 percent.
“2015 marked a drop in donor funding for HIV,” said Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President Jen Kates, Director of Global Health and HIV Policy. “Donors faced many competing funding demands, including humanitarian emergencies and the refugee crisis, all against a backdrop of fiscal austerity in a number of countries. Looking ahead, donor funding for HIV remains uncertain as leading donors face changes in political leadership and the world is still digesting the effects of Brexit.”
The new report, produced as a partnership between the Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS, provides the latest data available on donor funding disbursements based on data provided by governments. It includes their bilateral assistance to low- and middle-income countries and contributions to the Global Fund as well as UNITAID.