U.S. ‘Largest Single Donor’ of Funds To Fight HIV/AIDS; Overall Global Funding Falls Short of Need, Report Says
The United States is the "largest single donor" of funds to combat HIV/AIDS in developing countries, but the amount that the United States and other countries together are spending to fight the disease "falls far short of what is needed," according to a report released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Wall Street Journal reports (Waldholz, Wall Street Journal, 12/15). The policy brief, titled "Global Funding for HIV/AIDS in Resource Poor Settings," summarizes available data on the financial resources aimed at the HIV/AIDS epidemic in low- and middle-income countries and territories. The report offers both estimates of the budgeted funding and actual spending by the United States and other donors, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Kaiser Family Foundation, "Global Funding for HIV/AIDS in Resource Poor Settings," December 2003). A companion report on U.S. funding, titled "U.S. Government Funding for HIV/AIDS in Resource Poor Settings," says that the United States appropriated $1.5 billion to fight HIV/AIDS internationally in fiscal year 2003, a 42% increase from the previous fiscal year. President Bush requested approximately $2 billion for global HIV/AIDS programs in FY 2004, but "[c]ongressional action is still pending" (Kaiser Family Foundation, "U.S. Government Funding for HIV/AIDS in Resource Poor Settings," December 2003). Congress is expected to approved $2.4 billion for FY 2004 spending on international AIDS, TB and malaria initiatives (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/12). The amount Congress is considering for HIV/AIDS is "only one-third of the $6.3 billion the United Nations" and other groups say could be used to fight HIV/AIDS in FY 2004, the Journal reports.
The reports come after news last week that President Bush would seek a smaller-than-expected funding increase for AIDS efforts in his FY 2005 budget proposal, according to the Journal (Wall Street Journal, 12/15). The Bush administration has told cabinet departments that the administration's FY 2005 spending proposal will include "relatively small" funding increases for HIV/AIDS programs and the Millennium Challenge Account, an assistance program for developing nations that encourages democracy and development through economic assistance. The proposal will include $2.5 billion in new funds for the Millennium Challenge Account and $1.1 billion in additional funds for global HIV/AIDS programs, according to individuals familiar with Bush's proposal. Those amounts -- along with the funds yet to be approved in the FY 2004 omnibus spending bill -- account for 18% of the $30 billion in spending increases the White House promised would take place by 2008 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/12).
According to the Journal, some AIDS advocates say that they are hearing that Bush will propose that about $2.7 billion be spent on international AIDS efforts in 2005. However, Jamie Drummond, executive director of DATA, an AIDS, trade and debt relief advocacy organization founded by Irish rock star Bono, said that that amount "is about $1 billion short of what the U.S. should be committing, based on the amount of money that could be spent in these countries in 2005." According to the Kaiser Family Foundation report, UNAIDS says $10.7 billion could be used in the fight against AIDS in 2005; however, total spending from the United States, other countries and foundations likely will be half that amount, the Journal reports. White House spokesperson Trent Duffy said that he could not comment on proposed funding levels reported by advocates, but he added that "ramping up spending by $500 million or so" in 2005 is not "inconsistent with the president's promise," according to the Journal. He added, "The president will keep his commitment" (Wall Street Journal, 12/15).