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Has Aid for AIDS Raised All Health Funding Boats?

Shiffman, Jeremy PhD; Berlan, David MPA; Hafner, Tamara MS

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: November 2009 - Volume 52 - Issue - p S45-S48
doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181bbcb45
Supplement Article

Global health analysts have debated whether donor prioritization of HIV/AIDS control has lifted all boats, raising attention and funding levels for health issues aside from HIV/AIDS. We investigate this question, considering donor funding for 4 historically prominent health agendas-HIV/AIDS, health systems strengthening, population and reproductive health, and infectious disease control-over the decade 1998-2007. We employ funding data from the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which tracks donor aid. The data indicate that HIV/AIDS may have helped to increase funding for the control of other infectious diseases; however, there is no firm evidence that other health issues beyond the control of infectious diseases have benefited. Between 1998 and 2007, funding for HIV/AIDS control rose from just 5.5% to nearly half of all aid for health. Over the same period, funding for health systems strengthening declined from 62.3% to 23.9% of total health aid and that for population and reproductive health declined from 26.4% to 12.3%. Also, even as total aid for health tripled during this decade, aid for health systems strengthening largely stagnated. Overall, the data indicate little support for the contention that donor funding for HIV/AIDS has lifted all boats.

From the Department of Public Administration, Maxwell School of Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.

Sources of support: none.

Data presented: not applicable.

Correspondence to: Jeremy Shiffman, PhD, Associate Professor of Public Administration, 306 Eggers Hall, Maxwell School of Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-1020 (e-mail:

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