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Idea of the Day: How the United States Can Continue to Lead the Fight Against HIV/AIDS

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Food for thought: Who spent more on preventing and treating HIV/AIDS last year—international donors or those developing countries trying to combat the disease within their own borders? In past years the quick and easy answer would have been “international donors.” But according to the new “World AIDS Day Report” issued by the United Nations, domestic spending in developing countries on HIV/AIDS outpaced international investments in 2011.

Notably, it isn’t just the more affluent developing countries such as Brazil and India that have upped their own health spending. According to the new report, more than 81 low- and middle-income countries increased their domestic investments in combating HIV/AIDS by 50 percent or more, as their combined HIV expenditures rose from $3.9 billion in 2005 to $8.6 billion in 2011. Global spending dedicated to HIV/AIDS came in at $8.2 billion in 2011. The fact that developing countries were able to assume real financial leadership in fighting the AIDS pandemic amid a global financial crisis is nothing short of remarkable.

This shift in spending also marks the way forward for the United States as it tries to maintain its leadership in fighting HIV/AIDS internationally while at the same time dealing with severe budget pressures at home.

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This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

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