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HIV R&D Investment

In a financial climate with increasingly limited resources, tracking investment in HIV R&D provides the field with vital information to chart the course forward. Monitoring funding trends allows identification of promising areas where investment is needed, prioritization of research, analysis of the effects public policies have on funding trends and fact-based advocacy to support future investment in research. As later-stage and follow-on trials move forward, understanding and evaluating research in the context of public, private and philanthropic funding is increasingly important to ensure continued movement down the path towards ending AIDS. For 17 years, AVAC has been a part of a variety of resource tracking efforts—tracking funding for HIV across the research agenda.

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Resource Tracking for HIV Prevention Research and Development Working Group
Since 2004, the Resource Tracking for HIV Prevention Research and Development Working Group (formerly the HIV Vaccines and Microbicides Resource Tracking Working Group) has collected information annually on the amount invested in research and development for HIV prevention options, including vaccines, microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), treatment as prevention, male circumcision, female condoms, vertical transmission prevention, and also cure and therapeutic vaccine research.

The Latest Funding Trends
The annual report, HIV Prevention Research and Development Investments, which tracks funding in HIV research and development, has gone digital. The Resource Tracking for HIV Prevention R&D Working Group, a collaboration among AVAC, IAVI and UNAIDS, has launched a new website presenting 20 years of data and analysis. The website includes the latest information from the Working Group’s 16th annual analysis of HIV prevention research detailing overall investment and funding trends through 2019.

This new website offers a new tool for advocacy, with interactive analysis, and ready access to infographics. These tools can be used to advance advocacy for cutting-edge research and development and the scale-up of existing interventions needed to confront the ongoing HIV prevention epidemic, and build a stronger R&D foundation to address the COVID pandemic and whatever comes next.

Key Findings in Prevention R&D Funding
Funding is down, just a bit, but the trends are worrying.

This year’s report on 2019 data found a one percent decrease in total funding, erasing the modest 1.2 increase seen in 2018 after five consecutive years of declining investment. Total 2019 funding for HIV prevention R&D was US$1.13 billion. This incremental decrease impacted the various prevention categories differently. Investment increased for preventive vaccines and female condoms but decreased for voluntary medical male circumcision, microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis, prevention of vertical transmission, and treatment as prevention.

Despite these differences, donor trends remained similar to 2018. Public sector (80 percent of all funding at US$902 million) and philanthropic sector (14 percent of all funding at US$158 million, a 3 percent decrease) investments remained, for the most part, unchanged from 2018. The private sector saw a 5 percent decrease in investment, falling to 6.2 percent of all funding at US$70.6 million. Actual commercial investment levels are likely higher, as some private companies do not respond to the Working Group’s request for data.

For more, visit hivresourcetracking.org

what are the historic and current trends for investment in HIV preventiton R&D?

HIV Cure Research Resource Tracking
In 2014, the HIV Vaccines and Microbicides Resource Tracking Working Group and AVAC began a collaboration with the International AIDS Society’s (IAS) Towards an HIV Cure initiative. AVAC, Treatment Action Group (TAG) and the IAS brought together a group to review and allocate grants towards HIV cure research and analyze data on global funding. The working group released a report in September 2020, Global Investment in HIV Cure Research and Development in 2019.

The Working Group estimates that in 2019, US$328.2 million was invested in cure research, representing a 1 percent increase over the US$323.9 million invested in 2018, and an increase of 272 percent over the US$88.1 million invested in 2012.

The majority of investments (US$306.7 million) came from the public sector with US$20.7 million invested by philanthropies such as amfAR, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Institut Pasteur. Despite outreach by the Working Group, only one company responded to the survey, whilst several companies are known to have active cure research programmes, resulting in a signficant underestimation for commercial investment in cure research.

Resource Tracking Activities
In July 2016 at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa AVAC collaborated with Funder’s Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) to bring together a group of organizations and individuals who undertake and specialize in resource tracking for funding of HIV and related health priorities. The group was an effort to better collaborate in the area of resource tracking, to share methodological knowledge and to bring together sources of resource tracking information for the field.

The culmination was a session at AIDS 2016 titled, Using Funding Data to Advocate for Global and Domestic Resources in the Critical Push towards the End of AIDS, featuring resource tracking efforts from the Centre for Economic Governance and AIDS in Africa (CEGAA), the Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF), Treatment Action Group (TAG), Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) and the Resource Tracking for HIV Prevention research and Development working group.

This session was a follow-up to the initial resource tracking collaboration that took place at AIDS 2012 in Washington, DC entitled, Know Your Resources: How to use funding data to strengthen your messages in the critical push for investing in the end of AIDS.