The stats are in – 2008 was a bumper year for HIV/AIDS funding, according to a new report by UNAIDS and the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit organization that focuses on health. It is the kind of monitoring that may prove important as the global economic slowdown continues.
The report, Financing the response to AIDS in low- and middle-income countries, is part of an annual effort by the two organizations to keep a finger on the pulse of HIV/AIDS funding.
Government funding for the international fight against HIV and AIDS reached an all-time high last year but still fell almost US$7 billion short of the required amount estimated by UNAIDS.
National governments – spearheaded by the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States – have increased the money spent on HIV/AIDS by more than six times since 2002, so the bumper year in 2008 was not surprising, the report commented.
The United States was responsible for about 51 percent of all the money fuelling the fight but, in terms of countries contributing a "fair share", the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was outdone by the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands, which each contributed more to combating HIV/AIDS than their share of the world's gross domestic product.
The report stressed that keeping track of funding flows tied to the pandemic would become increasingly important as the downturn continued. Although it provides the latest available data on donor funding, the report nevertheless reflects budgets largely put in place before the onset of the economic slowdown, which could create new challenges to future funding.
"The current global economic crisis has raised concerns about the ability to fill [funding] gap, most of which will need to be filled by the international community," the authors commented.
A World Bank report earlier in 2009 warned that the worldwide downturn could place the treatment of more than 1.7 million at risk by the end of the year.
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