A new report indicates that most major bilateral, multilateral and private philanthropic funders that focus on HIV do not consistently track their investments targeting men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people. Produced by the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF), the report also examines tracking of domestic government funding dedicated to these populations in all UN Member States, revealing that only 25% these countries recorded levels of HIV prevention spending for MSM in 2010 and no country tracked spending for transgender people.
“With overwhelming evidence for the need to prioritize MSM and transgender people in the global fight against AIDS, it is shocking that so few funders actually know how much money they are spending on these populations,” said Dr. George Ayala, Executive Officer of the MSMGF. “Funders often talk about the importance of investing in key affected populations, but budgets offer a clear reflection of what their priorities actually are. HIV investments must be accounted for in order to ensure that MSM and transgender people are getting the support they need.”

In the few countries that did track HIV prevention spending for MSM, the report indicates expenditures fell far below the amount required to achieve universal access. According to country reports made to the United Nations in 2010, an average of 2% of national HIV prevention budgets was dedicated to MSM in the 42 low- and middle-income countries that tracked spending for this population – $15.8 million in total. Nearly 75% of that sum came exclusively from international sources, highlighting the role of bilateral, multilateral and large private philanthropic funding in service provision for MSM in low- and middle-income countries.

The report follows a number of recent publications arguing in favor of targeted investments for most-at-risk populations like MSM and transgender people. In June of this year, the World Bank issued a report demonstrating that increased access to HIV prevention and treatment for MSM can change the trajectory of a national epidemic. That same month, the Lancet published a new global HIV investment framework that emphasizes the importance of targeted investments for key affected populations.

“After 30 years of diffused investment, the world is realizing that a focused approach is the only one that will work,” said Dr. Ayala. “It is time for funders to reflect that in their budgets and track their investments by population. Donor agencies must communicate and coordinate to ensure adequate coverage without duplication, and we must all aim for a higher level of accountability to the people we serve.”

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