With UNAIDS as common denominator, reports bring impetus, optimism, and now, realities

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Kaiser/UNAIDS report looks at donor funding for HIV responses and sees sole donor preventing drop in dollars

First came the UNAIDS Lancet report, which warned that without accelerated movement to greatly increase access to antiretroviral treatment for people living with HIV worldwide, progress against the epidemic would not only stall, but reverse.

Next came the release this week of UNAIDS report on How AIDS Changed Everything. That 500-page report recounts 15 years of lessons on what the global focus on the health disparities exemplified by AIDS could accomplish, including a several-month-early achievement of the goal of 15 million people with HIV receiving the treatment they need to stay healthy. While acknowledging errors, delays and inequities, the report looks at progress not only in light of its impact on a virus, but in light of what it taught about both solidarity and aspiration.

kaiserunaidsNow, however, to round out a picture of the global pandemic midway through its fourth decade, UNAIDS also has collaborated with the Kaiser Family Foundation to produce a report on Financing the Response to HIV in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: International Assistance from Donor Governments in 2014. While the first two reports emphasize increasing international awareness of both rising needs, and of how to address them, this report starts with a flat truth: the world’s largest donor, the United States kept its funding “essentially flat” last year, and were it not for the second largest donor, the United Kingdom, which increased both direct support and its contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, spending to fight HIV in low and middle income countries would have declined. While four other governments raised their spending, for two, the Netherlands and Japan, those increases did not lift their contributions to levels preceding own recent drops.

Taken with the Lancet/UNAIDS report stressing what must be done, and the UNAIDS report telling what has been done, this report sends a message that focus and accountability will now matter as much as science and solidarity, if everyone diagnosed with HIV is to get access to the treatment they need.


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