HIV/AIDS funding from most private U.S. and European donors has decreased since 2006, according to new reports released November 17 by Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) and the European Funders Group (EFG). Philanthropy from U.S.-based groups totaled $618 million in 2008 while European-based groups donated $134 million.

In addition, the reports showed that in 2008 the majority of funding from these countries was not aimed at addressing their own HIV epidemics that same year. In the United States, 84 percent of all philanthropic HIV spending was sent overseas.

Regardless of where the money was invested, the overall HIV/AIDS philanthropy among U.S.-based funders increased in 2008 over 2007 by about $63 million—and that uptick was attributed mostly to a funding increase from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Otherwise, U.S. philanthropic spending flatlined from 2006 to 2007 and decreased by 3 percent from 2007 to 2008.

In Europe, spending decreased 1 percent from 2007 to 2008 while total funding decreased 7 percent since 2006.

“Private philanthropic donations make a significant contribution to the AIDS response, notably in supporting critical research and for HIV prevention and treatment programs for key populations and people at higher risk of infection,” Paul De Lay, deputy executive director of UNAIDS, said in a statement. “However, we are still facing tremendous challenges, and the continued commitment and support from philanthropic donors is essential for an effective response to the epidemic.”