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New Reports Show Slight Growth in Funding for AIDS

Private AIDS-related funding from United States and European philanthropic donors totaled US$ 644 million in 2011, a 5% increase (US$ 32 million) from 2010 according to an annual report from Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) and the European HIV/AIDS Funders Group (EFG), with support from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

While this overall increase was driven by increased funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (which represented half of all U.S.-based AIDS philanthropy), and by the majority of E.U.-based funders, decreases by the majority of U.S.-based funders largely neutralized overall growth in AIDS-related philanthropy in 2011. Analysis also reveals that few new funders are entering the field of AIDS philanthropy.

“We applaud the efforts of those that have increased their commitment at this pivotal time in the AIDS response,” said John Barnes, Executive Director, FCAA. “But these increases also mask a troubling decline in the number of private funders engaged in AIDS.  If we’re serious about an AIDS-Free generation, we must absolutely increase financial and political commitment to AIDS.”

Funding from U.S.-based philanthropies totaled $491 million in 2011, with a slight increase from 2010 (3%). The majority of U.S.-based philanthropies, however, decreased funding to AIDS, including several of the top 10 funders that shifted investments toward other health areas.

Total AIDS funding from all other U.S.-based philanthropies than the Gates Foundation decreased by 5% from 2010. Among E.U.-based philanthropies, the 2011 total reached $170 million, the highest point since 2007. While the majority of E.U.-based funders increased funding between 2010 and 2011, some of this was the result of yearly fluctuations in the grant distributions, rather than from the growth of new or existing programs.

Forecasts in both the U.S. and Europe suggest that AIDS funding would likely stay the same in 2012.

“We are in an era where shared responsibility for the AIDS response is vitally important. Countries are stepping up their domestic investments for HIV but there is still a US$7 billion gap between what is needed and what is available,” said Paul De Lay, Deputy Executive Director, Programme, UNAIDS. “Philanthropic investments for AIDS are extremely important, particularly in supporting civil society led engagement which can often be missing from larger-scale donor funding plans.”

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International assistance for AIDS from donor governments has been roughly flat since 2008, while the gap between available resources and what is needed to meet global targets for 2015 grew to an estimated US$ 7.2 billion. UNAIDS’ Investment Framework to guide more efficient use of resources shows that 4.2 million new HIV infections, 1.9 million HIV-related deaths could be averted, and 15 million people could access HIV treatment if funding is scaled up to US$ 24 billion by 2015.

UNAIDS, FCAA and EFG emphasize that philanthropy has a catalytic role to play in the AIDS response through its commitment to addressing critical issues and key populations – such as men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, and sex workers – that are often not covered by other sources of funding.

“Private philanthropy has catalyzed the development of effective interventions and held governments accountable for scaling them up,” said Ton Coenen, Executive Director, Aids Fonds, and EFG Steering Committee member. “ 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.”

The FCAA and EFG annual resource tracking report intends to inform stakeholders about the overall distribution and trends of U.S. and E.U. AIDS philanthropy. This year’s report also features more than 40 examples of innovative and impactful strategies from U.S. and E.U. AIDS funders.

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