This paper responds to the recent backlash against AIDS-specific funding by setting out the key claims and examining the evidence to determine which criticisms are justified, and which are not. The backlash against international funding for AIDS has taken a number of forms, with some suggesting that the extent of the problem (the HIV epidemic) has been exaggerated and others arguing that UNAIDS programme efforts have been misdirected. A key claim however, is that AIDS-related funding has undermined health systems in developing countries. A primary contributor to the backlash has been Roger England, who asserts that the international AIDS response has produced "the biggest vertical programme in history" and that this funding "could be more effective if used to strengthen public health" (England, 2007: 344).
This paper was written in collaboration with the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
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