Financing the response to HIV in low-income and middle-income countries

José Antonio Izazola-Licea, Jan Wiegelmann, Christian Arán, Teresa Guthrie, Paul De Lay, Carlos Avila-Figueroa
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: JAIDS 2009, 52: S119-26

OBJECTIVES: To describe levels of national HIV spending and examine programmatic allocations according to the type of epidemic and country income.

METHODS: Cross-sectional analysis of HIV expenditures from 50 low-income and middle-income countries. Sources of information included country reports of domestic spending by programmatic activity and HIV services. These HIV spending categories were cross tabulated by source of financing, stratified by type of HIV epidemic and income level of the country and reported in international dollars (I$).

RESULTS: Fifty low-income and middle-income countries spent US $ 2.6 billion (I$ 5.8 billion) on HIV in 2006; 87% of the funding among the 17 low-income countries came from international donors. Average per capita spending was I$ 2.1 and positively correlated with Gross National Income. Per capita spending was I$ 1.5 in 9 countries with low-level HIV epidemics, I$ 1.6 in 27 countries with concentrated HIV epidemics and I$ 9.5 in 14 countries with generalized HIV epidemics. On average, spending on care and treatment represented 50% of AIDS spending across all countries. The treatment-to-prevention spending ratio was 1.5:1, 3:1, and 2:1 in countries with low-level, concentrated and generalized epidemics, respectively. Spending on prevention represented 21% of total AIDS spending. However, expenditures addressing most-at-risk populations represented less than 1% in countries with generalized epidemics and 7% in those with low-level or concentrated epidemics.

CONCLUSIONS: The most striking finding is the mismatch between the types of HIV epidemics and the allocation of resources. The current global economic recession will force countries to rethink national strategies, especially in low-income countries with high aid dependency. Mapping HIV expenditures provides crucial guidance for reallocation of resources and supports evidence-based decisions. Now more than ever, countries need to know and act on their epidemics and give priority to the most effective programmatic services.

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