Since 2003, the international donor community has succeeded in dramatically boosting the number of patients receiving subsidized AIDS treatment in poor countries—mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa—from a few thousand to about 4 million in 2010. The price tag of this success has, of course, been huge. About half of the $8 billion spent each recent year on international AIDS assistance has gone to treatment, with the other half going to prevention.
In this CGD essay, Mead Over argues that international donor community cannot afford to continue its business-as-usual AIDS policy. It must focus more on preventing HIV to decrease the number of people living with AIDS and to keep treatment sustainable. He presents original estimates of the magnitude of the future fiscal burden of AIDS treatment under alternative assumptions about treatment quality and scale up. And he proposes policy options to harmonize the incentives among donors, recipient governments, and AIDS patients to sustain treatment quality while leveraging treatment demand for the prevention of future cases.
This is the third essay in a series of three on a proposed “global AIDS transition.”
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