The UK has a long history of leadership within the global HIV response and continues to contribute more financially to the response than any other donor government, except the USA.
In 2016, the UK committed £1.1 billion over 3 years to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, representing a 37% increase compared to its previous contribution. However, The Department for International Development (DFID) has decreased funding through bilateral channels – now only operating HIV programmes in 8 DFID country offices for a total of £16million in 2015. DFID is increasingly integrating HIV into wider health and development programmes – but has no way to monitor whether or not this happens successfully. DFID’s last published document on HIV was its HIV position paper, Towards Zero Infections. This expired in 2015, however DFID has stated that it will not publish a new HIV strategy or position. In the absence of a DFID strategy on HIV or on wider global health, it is difficult for internal and external stakeholders to ascertain DFID’s priorities or principles for investment within the HIV response.
The UK has established itself as a leader in defending the rights of key populations within the HIV response. However, The UK’s presence at high-level international forums where HIV is discussed has been patchy over recent years. For example, DFID sent no one to the 2014 or 2016 International AIDS Conferences, and sent only an official to the High Level meeting on ending AIDS.