Southern Africa is the most affected region in the world by HIV/AIDS.
STOPAIDS, a network of UK NGOS of which ACTSA is a member has last week released report, A Stocktake Review of DIFID’s Work on HIV and AIDS which reviews the HIV and AIDS work carried out by the Department for International Development and states UK government funding on HIV/AIDS is falling.
At present there has been no HIV/AIDS Strategy since 2015 and the report has been produced in the wake of DIFID’s refusal to carry out a strategic review of its support for work on HIV/AIDS. This is despite strong support for a such a review from both civil society and parliamentarians.
The report takes into consideration the multiple funding streams for HIV/AIDS work and highlights several key downfalls. These include, notably, that the massive cuts to DIFID’s country office programmes have not been offset by the UK’s contributions to the Global Fund. Claims that reductions in dedicated progamme funding have occurred as the result of a rise in integrated programme funding have also come under question. The report states overall funding is declining, with funding for civil society amongst the worst hit.
Other key findings include the remarkable absence of HIV from other significant DIFID strategies including the Strategic Vision on Women and Girls and DIFID’s Youth Agenda. Although the report does concede there has been some indication that moving forwards HIV will form a more central part of DIFID’s women and girl’s strategy.
Looking forwards from a programmatic perspective, STOPAIDS recommends that DIFID formalise and make public their approach to HIV. Given the present absence of an HIV strategy it has been suggested that the report could be used to articulate priorities within global HIV response.
Overall the reports findings highlight that DIFID’s commitment to the HIV response has been inconsistent, funding has decreased, and a formalised strategic approach is desperately lacking
DFID does not have country programmes for the five countries with the highest rates of HIV/AIDS adult prevalence: Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.
When DFID cut its country programme for South Africa a couple of years ago it meant that the Treatment Action Campaign lost 15% of its core financial support.
Eight countries in the world have an HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate in double figures. All are in Southern Africa. DFID has country programmes in/for three, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique.