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UN Releases New Financial Resources Report for HIV/AIDS

On September 26, UNAIDS released a report, entitled Financial Resources Required to Achieve Universal
Access to HIV, Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support, that estimates the amount of resources needed to effectively respond to the HIV/AIDS crisis.  The report asks international donors to quadruple spending on HIV/AIDS to $42 billion dollars annually to meet the goal set in 2006 of providing universal access to treatment and prevention by 2010. 

The UNAIDS report describes three possible scenarios for HIV/AIDS funding over the next eight years.  The first scenario explains the effects of scaling-up resources at the current rate, which would require between $14 billion and $18 billion and provide treatment to 8 million people by 2015. This strategy would fall dramatically short of providing universal access by 2010.1  “If we maintain current rates of progress, we are unlikely to achieve universal access by either 2010 or 2015,” said Paul DeLay, policy director for UNAIDS.2

The second scenario would reach the ambitious goal set in 2006 by significantly increasing resources and funding to all countries.  This approach would require between $32 billion to $51 billion and would provide treatment to 14 million people by 2010.3  UN officials said this increase in funding would provide a huge influx of resources and services, including medical personnel, teachers, condoms, and circumcision services.  This plan would help provide anti-retroviral medications (ARVs) to four out of five people who need treatment, compared to the one out of four people receiving treatment now.4

The report also includes a third scenario that would cost 1/3 less than the second.  This approach would provide different rates of funding increases for each country depending on need and capacity. Universal access to treatment and prevention would be achieved by 2015 with this scenario.5    Dr. Richard Feachem, former executive director of the Global Fund, commented that this alternative strategy takes into account the fact that many countries in need of assistance do not have the medical infrastructure to deal with the large amount of aid required to provide universal access by 2010. “Even this secondary goal is very ambitious,” said De Lay.

Despite the fact that global AIDS spending has grown by a factor of 30 over the last 10 years, funding has failed to match the growing need for treatment, care, and prevention.  Many AIDS activists are disappointed by the amount of funding for HIV/AIDS announced by both the United Kingdom and the United States. On Tuesday September 25, Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced a plan to spend $2 billion over the next eight years on international AIDS assistance.  British activists had been expecting $1.4 billion over the next three years alone.6  AIDS activists in the United States were similarly disappointed by Bush’s plan to increase international HIV/AIDS spending by only $600 million annually.7 

The UNAIDS report makes it clear that reaching the goals will be incredibly expensive, and the increases proposed by many donors will not be enough.  “We are simply not spending enough or doing enough,” said Michel Sidibe, deputy executive director of UNAIDS.8


  1. Financial Resources Required to Achieve Universal Access to HIV Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support (UNAIDS, 26 September 2007) 1-36.
  2. Craig Timberg, “UN Urges Quadrupling of Global AIDS Spending to Meet 2010 Treatment Goal,” The Washington Post, 26 September 2007, A20.
  3. UNAIDS, Financial Resources for Universal Access.
  4. Timberg, “UN Urges Quadrupling of AIDS Spending.”
  5. UNAIDS, Financial Resources for Universal Access.
  6. Sabin Russell, “UN Agency Plans Funding for Global Access to AIDS Drugs,” The San Francisco Chronicle, 26 September 2007, A6.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.