Feature story

Philanthropies major contributors to AIDS

21 November 2008

U.S. Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS in 2007

Total AIDS-related philanthropy in 2007 has risen to US $555 million among U.S.-based philanthropies and to EUR114 million (US $168 million) among Europe-based philanthropies, according to new reports from Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) and the European HIV/AIDS Funders Group (EFG), released in New York yesterday.

The set of reports - the first of its kind - comes at a time when the global financial crisis could potentially impact the global AIDS response.

“There has been a good return on investments made on AIDS” said Dr Paul de Lay, UNAIDS Director for Evidence, Monitoring and Policy. “In the past three years, not only have we seen the number of people on treatment doubling, but also tangible results in HIV prevention efforts, with the number of new HIV infections falling in several countries”.

Sunita Viswanath, FCAA’s Executive Director, emphasized the essential role of the philanthropic sector as governments and global institutions face increasing financial pressures while numbers of people living with HIV - and the risk of infection - continue to rise.

Dr de Lay added, “Philanthropies can play an important role, in supporting a long term and sustainable response to AIDS and help donors and others not lose sight of their goals amidst short term crises – any cutback in investments in the AIDS response today will undoubtedly affect millions of lives”.

The findings from a study in which organizations identified the top population groups that receive the greatest benefit from their domestic and international funding for 2007, identified people living with HIV most frequently as chief beneficiaries of both domestic and international philanthropy by both U.S.-and Europe-based funders.

EFG Chair, Astrid Bonfield, commented on the magnitude of the AIDS epidemic and the challenges and opportunities of funding, remarking that U.S. and European philanthropy could recognize and exercise its ability to be flexible, collaborate, and grow towards the most effective response to HIV.

Over the past three years FCAA worked with EFG and UNAIDS to harmonize their data collection in order to present the most accurate picture of global AIDS-related philanthropy. FCAA, EFG, and UNAIDS are now embarking on an effort to provide information and support to funders internationally through the creation of the Working Group on Global Philanthropic Resource Tracking.