Potential for additional government spending on HIV/AIDS in 137 low-income and middle-income countries: an economic modelling study

Published April 25, 2019, in The Lancet HIV (opens in a new window)


Between 2012 and 2016, development assistance for HIV/AIDS decreased by 20.0%; domestic financing is therefore critical to sustaining the response to HIV/AIDS. To understand whether domestic resources could fill the financing gaps created by declines in development assistance, we aimed to track spending on HIV/AIDS and estimated the potential for governments to devote additional domestic funds to HIV/AIDS.


We extracted 8,589 data points reporting spending on HIV/AIDS. We used spatiotemporal Gaussian process regression to estimate a complete time series of spending by domestic sources (government, prepaid private, and out-of-pocket) and spending category (prevention, and care and treatment) from 2000 to 2016 for 137 low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). Development assistance data for HIV/AIDS were from Financing Global Health 2018, and HIV/AIDS prevalence, incidence, and mortality were from the Global Burden of Disease study 2017. We used stochastic frontier analysis to estimate potential additional government spending on HIV/AIDS, which was conditional on the current government health budget and other finance, economic, and contextual factors associated with HIV/AIDS spending. All spending estimates were reported in 2018 US dollars.


Between 2000 and 2016, total spending on HIV/AIDS in LMICs increased from $4.0 billion (95% uncertainty interval 2.9–6.0) to $19.9 billion (15.8–26.3), spending on HIV/AIDS prevention increased from $596 million (258 million to 1.3 billion) to $3.0 billion (1.5–5.8), and spending on HIV/AIDS care and treatment increased from $1.1 billion (458.1 million to 2.2 billion) to $7.2 billion (4.3–11.8). Over this time period, the share of resources sourced from development assistance increased from 33.2% (21.3–45.0) to 46.0% (34.2–57.0). Care and treatment spending per year on antiretroviral therapy varied across countries, with an IQR of $284–2,915. An additional $12.1 billion (8.4–17.5) globally could be mobilized by governments of LMICs to finance the response to HIV/AIDS. Most of these potential resources are concentrated in ten middle-income countries (Argentina, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, and Vietnam).


Some governments could mobilize more domestic resources to fight HIV/AIDS, which could free up additional development assistance for many countries without this ability, including many low-income, high-prevalence countries. However, a large gap exists between available financing and the funding needed to achieve global HIV/AIDS goals, and sustained and coordinated effort across international and domestic development partners is required to end AIDS by 2030.

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Haakenstad A, Moses MW, Tao T, Tsakalos G, Zlavog B, Kates J, Wexler A, Murray CJL, Dieleman JL. Potential for additional government spending on HIV/AIDS in 137 low-income and middle-income countries: an economic modelling study. The Lancet HIV. 24 April 2019. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(19)30165-3