A study conducted by Economist Impact in thirteen African countries has revealed that providing full funding for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) response could save millions of lives and generate considerable health, social, and financial benefits.
The report titled ‘A Triple Dividend: The health, social and economic gains from financing the HIV response in Africa’, stated that financing African HIV response would help end the infections disease by 2030.
Winnie Byanyima, executive director of the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), declared that the report would enable African nations to create more robust healthcare systems and be better equipped to confront upcoming pandemics.
It further revealed that investing in HIV management could lead to a decrease in the number of new HIV infections from 40 to 90 percent, depending on the country. Additionally, the study suggested that this could improve educational results for young women and girls, reduce gender inequality, and stimulate economic growth.
Byanyima commented that the report was very timely, and the evidence it provided should be used to encourage political decisions that would guarantee full HIV funding, which would result in substantial social and economic benefits.
The report reads: “If the targets for full financing of HIV response are met in South Africa, for example, women aged 15 to 19 years would account for almost 15 per cent of the reduction in new HIV infections by 2030, despite making up less than five per cent of the total population.
“In addition, increased HIV investment today will contribute to wider and sustained economic gains by 2030, and ultimately free up scarce resources, going forward, to address other critical health priorities. The report projects that South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could be 2.8 per cent higher and Kenya could see its GDP rise by 1.1 per cent by 2030, if HIV funding targets are met.”
Commenting on the report, United States Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, Dr. John Nkengasong, observed that ending AIDS as a public health threat requires political, programmatic and financial leadership, adding: “All government sectors, including finance ministries, play a key role in increasing domestic financing to ensure that vulnerable populations are reached equitably and receive the prevention, care and treatment services they need.”
U.S. government expressed pride in joining with other United Nations member states in making bold new commitments for AIDS financing by 2025, according to Nkengasong.