Between 2000 and 2015, spending on the HIV epidemic totaled more than half a trillion dollars, adjusted for inflation. But despite recent urgent calls on the part of leaders such as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) for ramped-up funds to help ultimately end HIV as a public health threat—and save money in the long run—annual spending on HIV peaked in 2013.

UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé, calling for greater funding for the HIV epidemic at the opening session of the IAS Conference on HIV Science in Paris in July 2017Benjamin Ryan

Publishing their findings in The Lancet, researchers analyzed published data on domestic health spending of any kind between 1995 and 2015, relying on a diverse set of international agencies. They also tracked financial assistance for health spending between 1990 and 2017. Looking at online databases, country reports and proposals submitted to multilateral organizations, they collected more than 5,000 data points about HIV spending between 2000 and 2015.

All dollar figures in the paper are estimates based on mathematical modeling and are adjusted for inflation.

Overall, global health spending per capita grew by 3.1 percent annually between 1995 and 2015. Such growth was the greatest in upper-middle-income nations, at 5.4 percent per year, and lower-middle-income nations, at 4.2 percent per year. (In other words, growth was the greatest in middle-income nations as a whole).

In 2015, out of all global health spending, high-income nations spent $6.5 trillion, or 66.3 percent of the total, while low-income nations spent $70.3 billion, or 0.7 percent.

Between 1990 and 2017, annual financial assistance for health increased nearly fivefold, to $37.4 billion in the latter year. Of this figure, $9.1 billion, or 24.2 percent, went toward HIV.

Between 2000 and 2015, $562.6 billion went toward the HIV epidemic worldwide. Governments financed 57.6 percent of that total. Annual spending peaked at $49.7 billion in 2013 and declined to $48.9 billion in 2015. In 2015, residents of low-income and lower-middle-income nations accounted for 74.6 percent of all the years of life lost to HIV as well as years of disability-free life lost to the virus yet just 36.6 percent of total spending on the epidemic.

In 2015, $9.3 billion, or 19 percent of global HIV financing, went toward HIV prevention efforts while $27.3 billion, or 55.8 percent, went toward care and treatment of those living with the virus.

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

To read the study, click here.