UNAIDS says, for the first time, there is a shortage of funds to tackle HIV/AIDS
The UNAIDS’s Global AIDS Update, Communities at the Centre report, highlights the lack of funding for tackling HIV and AIDS globally. The report notes that for the first time, global funds for tackling AIDS and HIV have fallen by almost $1 billion. The report also shows that there has been disparate progress both regionally and amongst focus groups in tackling HIV/AIDS. AIDS-related deaths have declined by 33% since 2010, to 770,000 in 2018—but this progress has been different across regions. The report shows that since 2010, AIDS-related deaths have increased by 5% in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and by 9% in Middle East and North Africa.
While the report acknowledges the progress in terms of curbing and tackling HIV and AIDS-related deaths, this progress has been unequal, with high-risk groups—gay men, transgender people, sex worker, intravenous drug users and prisoners—still excluded. In 2018, 95% of new HIV infections in the aforementioned regions have been from these groups. And, less than 50% of the high-risk groups were reached out to with HIV prevention services in more than half of the countries. How big a miss that has proved to be is evident in the fact that these groups account for 54% of the new HIV infections globally.
The shortage of funds is due to a global fund crunch and domestic efforts lagging the scale required. As of 2018, $19 billion was available for AIDS response—$7.2 billion less than the required $26.2 billion needed to be raised by 2020. The UN has called for donors to give at least $14 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. If donors and political leadership of developed countries don’t take the lead in replenishing AIDS funding, realising the Sustainable Development Goal on health will be difficult—curbing HIV/AIDS to the desired level might take longer than 2030, leading to a higher burden from the infection.