Funding for Key HIV Commodities in PEPFAR Countries


Global HIV/AIDS programs depend on having a reliable supply of health commodities, including essential medicines and other products, to prevent, diagnose, and treat HIV. Key commodities in the HIV/AIDS response include: antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), condoms and lubricants, laboratory and diagnostic products (including rapid test kits and viral load commodities), and voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) supplies, among others. PEPFAR, along with the Global Fund, to which the U.S. is the largest donor, is a critical source of funding for key commodities, as well as associated services, in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), sometimes supplementing country government funding or supporting most of a country’s effort.1 However, information on their relative roles is not readily available. Such data are important for assessing the HIV response, particularly given concerns about overall global funding for HIV, which has declined in recent years.2

We sought to better understand PEPFAR’s role, relative to the Global Fund and country governments, in directly funding HIV-related commodities in PEPFAR countries (as the largest donor to the Global Fund, PEPFAR indirectly funds a larger share of commodities in the countries in which it works). To do so, we analyzed data from PEPFAR’s 2019 Country and Regional Operating Plan (COP and ROP) Strategic Direction Summaries (SDS) (“COP19”).3 These are documents submitted by PEPFAR country teams, as part of their larger COP/ROP submission, which describe a country’s strategic plan for the coming year, as well as provide a framework for how the country will measure progress. The SDS includes data on funding for commodities by source. We used these data to assess the relative shares of funding by source and by commodity in the 34 countries required to develop a COP or ROP in 2019, and which provided data on commodity funding distribution (an additional 20 countries were required to submit a COP or ROP in 2019 but did not provide these data).4 These 34 countries represented 67% of all people living with HIV and over half (approximately 54%) of new infections globally in 2019.5

Data extraction and cleaning were conducted jointly by KFF and amfAR, and the final dataset is housed on amfAR’s site here. Data were extracted as reported in the 2019 COP/ROP SDS documents, but not validated beyond these sources. In some cases, data were presented in dollar amounts and in others, as percentages of total funding. We computed both percent and dollar values where needed; percent totals may not sum to 100%.6 We grouped commodities into six broad categories: ARVs; condoms and lubricants; lab and diagnostic products; other commodities; other drugs; and VMMC products (see Box). All 34 countries provided data on ARVs; 33 for lab diagnostic and products; 29 countries for condoms7 and lubricants; 28 for other drugs; 19 for other commodities;8 and 13 for VMMC commodities.9


Antiretrovirals (ARVs)—ARVs are medicines to treat HIV, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and first, second, and third line ARVs.

Condoms & Lubricants—Condoms and lubricants include both male and female condoms and personal lubricants.

Lab & Diagnostic Products—Lab & diagnostic products include rapid test kits, self-test kits, and HIV test kits; viral load commodities; blood safety supplies, including CD4 reagents and products; early infant diagnosis (EID); chemistry and lab reagents, equipment, services, supplies, and samples; and recency tests.

Other Commodities—Other commodities include health equipment, hepatitis-related commodities, condom testing machines, cervical cancer supplies, needles and syringes, TB or GeneXpert commodities, and general commodities that don’t fall under other specific categories.

Other Drugs—Other drugs include medication assisted therapy (MAT), opportunistic infection (OI) drugs, medicines for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and STI kits, and other general drugs.

Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC)—VMMC is an HIV prevention tool and includes VMMC kits and related commodities and medicines for VMMC.

Key Findings

Funding for HIV commodities in 34 PEPFAR countries was estimated to total more than $3 billion ($3,051,168,558) from all sources in the 2019 COP/ROPs.

  • Funding ranged from $709,000 in Tajikistan to $762 million in South Africa (See Figure 1).
  • 10 countries accounted for 76% of all funding for commodities.

Almost two-thirds of commodity funding was for ARVs (64%), followed by lab and diagnostic products (26%). Funding for each of the other commodity types was 6% or less. 

  • Overall, ARVs accounted for 64% ($1.95 billion) of funding for all commodities in 2019 (See Figure 2). Lab and diagnostic products represented the second largest share (26% or $779 million), followed by other drugs (6% or $177 million), and condoms and lubricants (2% or $59 million).
  • ARVs represented the largest share of commodity funding in almost all (29 of the 34) PEPFAR countries included in this analysis (See Figure 3).

While PEPFAR is the largest single funder of HIV efforts in the world, it was not the dominant funder overall for HIV commodities in these 34 countries. Rather, in aggregate, country governments provided the largest share of commodity funding (44%), followed by the Global Fund (31%) and then PEPFAR (24%). Excluding the South Africa program, whose funding accounts for nearly a quarter of total funding for commodities across the 34 countries and almost exclusively from domestic resources, the Global Fund was the top funder and PEPFAR was second.

  • Funding from country governments totaled an estimated $1.3 billion (44%), followed by the Global Fund ($935 million or 31%), PEPFAR ($735 million or 24%), and other sources ($39 million or 1.3%) (See Figure 4).
  • This is primarily due to the significant role played by the South African government in funding HIV-related commodities. In 2019, the South African government’s commodity contribution ($746 million) accounted for almost all of the country’s commodity funding (98% of $762 million), 56% of total country government commodity funding ($1.3 billion), and nearly a quarter (24%) of funding for all commodities across the 34 countries ($3 billion). With South Africa removed from the analysis, PEPFAR was the second largest funder of commodities ($729 million or 32%), after the Global Fund ($924 million or 40%) (See Figure 5).

The main funder varied by commodity. For example, PEPFAR was the largest funder of VMMC-related commodities in the group of countries with VMMC programs and the Global Fund was the largest of condoms and lubricants. In most cases, though, the order changed when South Africa was removed.

  • ARVs. The largest funder of ARVs was country governments, which accounted for 45% of all ARV funding, followed by the Global Fund (33%), PEPFAR (21%), and other sources (<1%) (See Figure 6). With South Africa removed, the Global Fund becomes the largest funder (45%), followed by PEPFAR (29%) (See Figure 7).
  • Condoms and Lubricants. The Global Fund was the largest funder of condoms and lubricants (38%), followed by country governments (24%), PEPFAR (22%), and other sources (15%) (see Figure 6). With South Africa removed, PEPFAR was the second largest funder (See Figure 7).
  • Lab and Diagnostic Products. Country governments were the largest funder of lab and diagnostic products (44%), followed by PEPFAR (30%), the Global Fund (24%), and other sources (2.5%) (See Figure 6). Without South Africa, PEPFAR moves to the top (See Figure 7).
  • VMMC Commodities. Among the 13 countries that reported funding on VMMC commodities,10 PEPFAR was by far the largest payer of VMMC-related commodities (75%), followed by the Global Fund (19%), and country governments (6%) (See Figure 6). The shares, but not order, of the distribution shifts slightly without South Africa (See Figure 7).
  • Other Commodities and Other Drugs. Among the 19 countries that specified funding for other commodities in 2019,11 the Global Fund was the largest funder of other commodities (48%), followed by country governments (27%), PEPFAR (22%), and other sources (3.3%) (See Figure 6). The largest funder of other drugs was country governments (54%), followed by the Global Fund (25%), PEPFAR (19%), and other sources (2.6%) (See Figure 6). (South Africa did not report funding in these areas).

The main funder also varied by country, and by commodity within countries, with the Global Fund playing the main role.

  • The Global Fund was the largest funder of commodities in 21 of the 34 countries, followed by country governments (8 of 34), and PEPFAR (5 of 34) (See Figure 8). The Global Fund accounted for more than half of all commodity funding in 15 of the 34 countries.
  • The Global Fund also was the largest funder for each commodity type in the majority of countries, with the exception of VMMC commodities, where PEPFAR was the largest funder in most countries that had a VMMC program (See Figures 8 and 9). For example, for ARVs, the Global Fund was the dominant funder in 18 countries and PEPFAR in 7 countries. For lab and diagnostic commodities, the Global Fund was the dominant funder in 18 countries and PEPFAR in 9 countries.

Looking Ahead

HIV-related commodities play a key role in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease. As shown above, the commodity landscape varies greatly in PEPFAR countries. This variation is likely due to a range of factors, including the context of local HIV epidemics, the evolution of the HIV response in each country, availability of funding from different sources, and the priorities of funders, including of country governments. Given the lack of a cure or vaccine for HIV and millions of people with or at risk for HIV, the importance of funding currently available commodities will continue for some time but may be more challenging in an environment of flat or declining funding.

While PEPFAR is the single largest HIV funder in the world, as we find here, it is not the dominant funder, at least not directly, of HIV commodities in most of the countries in which it works. Rather, the Global Fund and country governments play the main role. At the same time, PEPFAR often funds many of the associated services (e.g., supply chains, laboratory facilities, and health care personnel) that are needed to support the delivery and use of commodities. In addition, given that PEPFAR is the largest donor to the Global Fund, it plays a more significant indirect role in the Global Fund’s support for commodities in PEPFAR countries. Going forward, these findings could help to inform policymakers, implementers, and others as they make decisions about future directions for the HIV response, including assessments of: the appropriate balance of funding for commodities between PEPFAR and the Global Fund; coordination of commodity procurement and provision at the global and country levels; whether current arrangements are best from a sustainability perspective; and how changes in overall funding for commodities or the current payer mix, might affect continuity of services.

Key Findings

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