Durban, South Africa – MSMGF attended Tuesday a press conference to address the findings of a new Kaiser Family Foundation/UNAIDS report presenting alarming data that 13 of 14 donor governments reduced funding in 2014-2015 for AIDS investments in low- and middle-income countries. Chris Beyrer of the International AIDS Society noted this reduction in funding is expected to fall particularly hard on key populations, including gay and bisexual and other men who have sex with men, as donor governments that contribute to the Global Fund and PEPFAR are far more likely to support key populations programming than their domestic government counterparts. This report provides further evidence that all the high-minded talk of “ending AIDS” will be empty rhetoric without necessary and sustained investments by donor governments.
Panelists noted several key and urgent points that emerge from the funding report. Jennifer Kates of the Kaiser Family Foundation noted that numerous factors are likely driving donor cuts in global HIV investments, including the ongoing refugee crisis in and around Europe and a political climate of austerity among donor governments. Jose Antonio Izazola of UNAIDS noted that the world is likely to see a resurgence of the HIV epidemic if these funding cuts continue in the coming years. Linda Gail-Bekker of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre discussed modeling her research team has conducted on the required costs of meeting UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 treatment targets, and highlighted that the global HIV response is likely to fall far short of these targets without increases in investments. Anele Yawa of South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) emphasized that donor cuts will fall hard on grassroots civil society, as civil society supported by domestic governments and pharmaceutical companies are far less likely to present necessary and critical perspectives on the HIV response. Matthew Kavanagh of Health Gap called for donor governments to reverse the current decline in funding, including for PEPFAR to invest an additional $2 billion a year through 2020 to ensure ambitious prevention and treatment targets are met.
MSMGF remains deeply concerned that donor funding cuts will imperil precarious gains made in recent years in improving community-led HIV responses among key populations. We advise that advocates consult the report and use its findings to increase political pressure on donor governments to keep their commitments to meaningfully address HIV and human rights among key populations, including gay and bisexual and other men who have sex with men. A live recording of the press conference can be viewed here.
Please contact Nadia Rafif, Director of Policy, with your questions and concerns.
Yours in global solidarity,