Funding for AIDS initiatives from U.S. and European donors rose 5 percent, or $32 million, to $644 million in 2011, but experts predict that it will be flat in 2012, a new report from the European HIV/AIDS Funders Group and Funders Concerned About AIDS finds.
According to U.S. and European Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS in 2011 (76 pages, PDF), an annual report produced with support from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the increase in funding for AIDS in 2011 was largely due to a boost in support from the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — which accounts for half of U.S.-based AIDS-related philanthropy — and European-based funders. The latter, however, was a result of yearly fluctuations in grant distributions rather than a function of additional funding for new or existing programs. The report also found that the majority of U.S. donors reduced their funding for AIDS in 2011, with a number of the top ten funders shifting their focus to other health issues and fewer new funders joining the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Since 2008, international assistance for AIDS from donor governments has been roughly flat, while the gap between available resources and what is needed to meet the Millennium Development Goal by 2015 grew to an estimated $7.2 billion.
While acknowledging the importance of government funding for AIDS-related programs, the report emphasized that philanthropy has a catalytic role to play in helping to fight the disease. According to research from UNAIDS, 15 million more people could access HIV treatment services and 1.9 million HIV-related deaths could be averted if funding from donor governments and multilateral and private-sector institutions was increased to $24 billion by 2015.
"Private philanthropy has catalyzed the development of effective interventions and held governments accountable for scaling them up," said EFG steering committee member Ton Coenen, who also serves as executive director of Aids Fonds. "As treatment and prevention technologies continue to evolve, it will be our sector's role to ensure that community-based infrastructure is strengthened further and that the human rights of vulnerable populations are protected."