The World Health Organization’s (WHO) call for universal HIV treatment is up against a lack of resources, with a large investment needed up front to ultimately reduce costs down the road. Publishing their findings in BMJ Open, researchers conducted mathematical modeling to estimate the financial resources needed for HIV prevention and treatment between 2015 and 2050 in nine nations accounting for 70 percent of HIV cases in Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Maintaining current HIV prevention efforts and providing antiretrovirals (ARVs) to those with fewer than 500 CD4 cells in these nations would require $98 billion between 2015 and 2050. Expanding treatment to all people living with HIV and scaling up prevention efforts in these countries would increase the cost to $261 billion.

Investing more in the short term would both ensure that a high proportion of people living with HIV are treated for the virus, and, thanks to the power of ARVs to prevent transmission, would reduce costs over the long term.

Money coming from these countries alone will not be enough to meet the financial obligations of tackling their national epidemics. New sources of funding, including “innovative financing” initiatives, are urgently needed.

To read a press release about the study, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.