South Africa is facing a mounting financial challenge in its fight against the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. With 5.7 million people currently infected with the HIV virus and an additional half million adults and children becoming newly infected each year, South Africa stands at a critical crossroads. To adequately address the epidemic, South Africa must fight on three critical fronts: prevention, treatment, and the care of orphans and others affected by AIDS. The funding needed to respond to these rising needs continues to escalate rapidly, particularly as hundreds of thousands of additional South Africans begin antiretroviral treatment (ART).
These growing financial demands pose a challenge to South Africa, as the country and international community grapple with competing priorities in the midst of an economic recession. The economic downturn has tightened budgets, restricting already limited financial resources.
How much money will be needed for a strong and effective national HIV/AIDS program? How can financial resources be used more efficiently, and who will pay for these vital HIV/AIDS activities in the future? What can be done to contain AIDS spending?
The report, “Long-Run Costs and Choices of HIV/AIDS in South Africa” seeks to address these questions with a look to the epidemiological and financial future of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.The report was undertaken at the request of the South African government, and was overseen by a national steering committee co-chaired by senior officials of the health and finance ministries. Its authors were also drawn from the Center for Economic Governance on AIDS in Africa (CEGAA) based in Cape Town and Results for Development Institute (R4D). R4D Managing Director, Robert Hecht is one of the report co-authors, who presented the findings on November 19th at a meeting of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), a group that includes leaders from both the government and civil society in Daveyton, South Africa.
The report was launched in November 2010. Please see below for press highlights.