Is HIV/AIDS funding distorting health priorities in ways that actually harm efforts to improve public health? If so, how? These are questions I have wondered about for a long time. In 2008, the U.S. government spent $283 million dollars in Uganda on the HIV/AIDS sector via the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In the same year, the Ugandan government spent approximately $180 million on the entire health sector. What impact does PEPFAR levels of donor funding for HIV/AIDS have on the recipient country’s health priorities? On the amount of money spent on other health issues? On the number of doctors that work in primary care?
Tapiwa Gomo of Newsday writes:
” … The UNAIDS projects that by 2015, the annual resource needs will reach $54-57 billion (a total of approximately $172 billion in three years) which could avert 2,6 million new infections and 1,3 million deaths. Still this is not enough to cater for the 33 million people living with the virus today.
As a result of the presence of such huge financial figures, the HIV and Aids industry has uncontrollably grown in size and budget, thanks to the generous donors who can finance anything or anyone as long as there is an HIV and Aids dimension in the proposals.
However, what concerns some experts is that the impact of this colossal and resource-guzzling industry is not parallelled by results on the ground, in addition to the damage it has caused on the public health sector especially in Third World countries...”
The article in full can be found here.
I only have speculative and anecdotal evidence pointing to negative side effects of gargantuan HIV funding, but I am currently working on a project that I hope will provide more quantitatively sound evidence. More on this as the project comes along.