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close this bookThe Business Response to HIV/AIDS: Innovation and Partnership (UNAIDS, 1997, 60 p.)
close this folderThe Challenge of HIV/AIDS
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1. PROFILE OF THE DISEASE
View the document2. THE IMPACT OF THE EPIDEMIC
Open this folder and view contents3. THE GLOBAL SPREAD OF HIV/AIDS
View the document4. THE PUBLIC AND NON-PROFIT SECTOR RESPONSE TO DATE

4. THE PUBLIC AND NON-PROFIT SECTOR RESPONSE TO DATE

Not surprisingly, the main response to the epidemic so far has come from public-sector agencies – HIV/AIDS is a public health issue of the highest order. In the early years, the main aims were to:

· Identify and understand HIV in its various forms

· Clearly identify the means of transmission

· Protect the public blood supply

· Warn particular "at risk" populations and campaign generally among the public to raise awareness about the disease, the means of its spread and appropriate preventive measures

· Research new drugs, vaccines and treatments, seeking a cure

· Create codes of conduct for governments, employers and others to protect human and employment rights of those with HIV/AIDS.

Work remains to be done in all these areas. In their article "Global Spending on HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Research", J Broomberg and D Schopper say: "Global spending on HIV/AIDS prevention, care and research totaled $18.4 billion in 1993, of which $17 billion (92%) was spent in high economy countries and $1.4 billion (8%) was spent in low economy countries. On average, worldwide, nearly $5 was spent for HIV/AIDS care for every $1 spent for HIV prevention ... Total estimated expenditures on HIV/AIDS prevention, care and research represent less than 1% of overall healthcare expenditures in both high and low economies.1

1 "Global Spending on HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Research", by Broomberg and D Schopper. In AIDS in the World II, Oxford University Press, 1996.

As Table 1 shows, the application of resources to fight the disease in developing countries and emerging economies is tiny compared with that in the developed world. The poorer "low economy" countries of the world have 91.8% of all HIV/AIDS cases, yet receive only about 12% of the global spending on prevention. Furthermore, only a minimum of resources are available for research and treatment.

TABLE 1 Allocation of global spending on HIV/AIDS care, research and prevention by economy type, 1993

Type of economy*

Share of World population

Share of world HIV-positive Population (percent)

HIV/AIDS spending**




Care

Research

Prevention


Billions

Percent


$ Billion

% share

$ Billion

% Share

$ Billion

% Share

High

1.3

23.5%

8.2%

$10.88

94%

$3.9

93%

$2.2

88%

Low*

4.1

76.5

91.8

0.74

6

0.3

7

0.3

12

TOTAL

5.4



$11.62


$4.2


$2.5


* The authors have used the World Bank Atlas 1994 definition of “high” and “low” economies that is broader than the OECD group of countries.

** US dollars

SOURCE: David Logan. Adapted from "Global Spending on HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Research” by J Broomberg and D Schopper in AIDS in the World II, Oxford University Press, 1996

The vast majority of cash resources committed to fighting HIV/AIDS are deployed by the public sector, but non-profits – or as they are more commonly known in the developing world, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – have also played a vital role in combatting HIV/AIDS. They carry out social research, care for those with the disease and mount public education campaigns with specific groups and the wider public. While their activities may be small in cash terms compared with public-sector agencies, they often undertake highly innovative work. The direct contact that NGOs have with vulnerable populations allows them to influence public policy through example and lobbying. They tend to work closely with the public sector.

NGOs also work with business as policy advisors and service providers. Some receive philanthropic support from companies for their work. They also undertake lobbying for general changes in business policy on such issues as employment rights for individuals with HIV/AIDS and drug pricing policies adopted by pharmaceutical companies.

Generally speaking, the collaboration between the public, and non-profit sectors and the corporate sector on the HIV/AIDS issue has been valuable, though limited and uneven. The next section looks at how business has responded to the challenge thus far.