Philanthropy Can Play Powerful Role In Funding HIV-Related Human Rights Efforts

Devex: Durban then and now: Human rights funding in the AIDS response
John Barnes, executive director of Funders Concerned About AIDS

“Policymakers, scientists, and implementers agree that an effective HIV response must be viewed through the lens of human rights. Yet overall AIDS funding for human rights is remarkably low. Resources in some countries are woefully inadequate, and harmful legislation aims to further marginalize and oppress those at greatest risk of HIV. The most marginalized groups — women, young people, sex workers, gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who use drugs, prisoners, and migrants — are often directly and indirectly excluded from lifesaving health services. Without adequate funding, not only will we halt further advancements, we may backslide. … The philanthropic response in the global fight against HIV and AIDS is just a small part of total resources. But it is mighty. When public, private, and philanthropic resources are brought collectively to bear on the global response to HIV and AIDS, remarkable progress is possible. … Philanthropic funders also have a history of providing critical support for people and issues that are under- or unfunded by governments. Because private donors are subject to far fewer restrictions in what and where they are able to fund, theirs are often the only resources available to support advocacy. Dollars spent at the intersection of HIV and advocacy, bolstering efforts to keep national and international funders accountable, is money well spent. Advocacy yields tangible results in financing, policy change, and service delivery…” (7/15).

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