Russia Set to Lose International HIV/AIDS Funding

May 22, 2006

According to the Associated Press, Russia’s recent classification as an upper middle income country by the World Bank means that the nation is no longer eligible for multi-lateral assistance for HIV/AIDS, including new grants from the Global Fund. The country will continue to receive disbursements from on-going grants (approximately $250 million over the next 5 years) and other bilateral sources, including the U.S. Government.This announcement comes at a time of significant change in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Russia. Although good data is hard to come by, all indications are that HIV/AIDS continues to spread quickly in the country - and, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, it is moving from a purely concentrated epidemic to one that threatens youth and women more generally. On the other hand, Russia is set to host the G8 summit in July and President Vladimir Putin recently announced $100 million in domestic resources to combat the disease, a twenty-fold increase. However, according to the article, it is still unclear whether these resources will be fully committed and will be able to reach the NGOs currently providing many of the prevention and education services.The Russian situation highlights a real and pressing controversy in the global HIV/AIDS financing realm: how rich is rich enough to combat AIDS? The growing gap between the estimated resources needed to fully combat HIV/AIDS globally and those resources pledged by donors makes a strong case for the concentration of donor resources in the poorest and most affected countries. However, is it wise to isolate countries, like Russia, whose governments have little experience in leadership on this issue and who are facing such potentially explosive situations?


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