January 4, 2011
A new study finds Cambodia "will need to significantly increase its own allocation" of funding and resources if the country is to continue its widely hailed HIV/AIDS efforts.
"The Long-Run Costs and Financing of HIV/AIDS in Cambodia" was prepared with assistance from the US-based Results for Development Institute (R4D) and UNAIDS. In it, government officials compared several funding scenarios from now until 2031. Each scenario has a different price tag and rate of success in preventing new infections, and all assume the government and foreign donors will eventually split the costs.
According to the report, the most cost-effective approach focuses on preventing infections in high-risk groups such as sex workers, injecting drug users, and men who have sex with men. This strategy could see annual new infections decline to just below 1,400 by 2031. "The total cost can be kept down to $68 million a year," said Richard Skolnik of R4D.
External partners currently provide 90 percent of funds for Cambodia's HIV/AIDS programs -- more than $50 million annually. New HIV infections have declined from around 15,500 each year in the early 1990s to about 2,100 in 2009. And 93 percent of 33,500 eligible HIV/AIDS patients are receiving antiretroviral treatment.
"The success that Cambodia has had with its AIDS program is at risk because of the possibility that external partners will withdraw financial support too quickly," said Skolnik, noting the global financial crisis and shifting priorities as reasons for the drop in funds.