Coming up: The future of AIDS funding

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For the last few months, those advocating for a more robust fight against AIDS have been growing increasingly concerned about the stagnant funding levels from the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

But what about the years ahead? What’s the epidemic going to look like in 20 years, how much funding will be needed, and how are the choices today going to impact on the epidemic in the years to come?

To get a glimpse at future scenarios, Robert Hecht, managing director at Results for Development Institute, a two-year-old group of development experts based in Washington, D.C., will launch a report, “Costs and Choices,’’ on Monday at the Global Health Council conference in Washington, D.C. The report was done under the auspices of aids2031, a group of AIDS specialists headed by Peter Piot, former executive director of UNAIDS, and Stefano Bertozzi, the HIV director for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program.

Hecht will present a range of findings from the group’s research, including this surprising statistic: Some 50 percent of the Global Fund’s AIDS funding now goes to middle-income countries, as does roughly 20 percent of PEPFAR’s funding. Hecht has advocated in the past that middle-income countries start to assume the bulk of that cost, and that donors, including PEPFAR, should shift those funds to countries truly in need.

Monday’s session – 2-3 p.m in the Palladian Ballroom at the Omni Shoreham Hotel – also will feature Paul Bouey, deputy global AIDS coordinator, and Rifat Atun, director for Strategy, Performance and Evaluation Cluster at the Global Fund. Also giving an on-the-ground perspective will be David Apuuli, director general of the Uganda AIDS Commission,and Benson Chirwa, director general of the National AIDS Council in Zambia.

It should shed some light not only on the future needs in funding AIDS, but also give a glimpse into policymakers’ thinking in how they can meet those needs. We will be posting after Monday’s session.

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