Foreign Assistance

Combating HIV/AIDS in Developing Countries Gao ID: NSIAD-92-244 June 19, 1992

Despite the alarming rate of HIV infection in developing nations, the Agency for International Development (AID) lacks an agencywide strategy for marshaling resources to combat the epidemic. The agency, citing other priorities and sensitivity about AIDS in many countries, has devoted limited funding to this issue and has yet to (1) assess the disease's long-term effect on its development programs or on the economic development of Third-World nations, (2) develop an agencywide strategy for its HIV/AIDS prevention policies, or (3) emphasize HIV/AIDS issues in programming and budgeting. To help AID officials abroad with HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, the agency began the AIDS Technical Support Project in 1987. Because of staff shortages, however, the program was fraught with management and oversight problems. Although AID redesigned this project in 1991, GAO is concerned that the agency has been slow to identify priority countries to receive assistance. Further, AID has not reached a decision on indicators to evaluate project results and has no specific plans for dealing with an expected upsurge in condom demand.

GAO found that: (1) in 1987, AID issued AIDS policy guidance that stated that missions should not mount large AIDS-specific programs because the disease is a sensitive subject and funds and staff are needed for other priorities; (2) the AID policy has evolved substantially since 1987, but AID has not formulated an agencywide strategy which links its policy with bureau and mission operations; (3) AID has not considered the impact of AIDS on its economic development programs; and (4) AID has not developed an agencywide strategy for carrying out AIDS prevention policies or emphasized AIDS issues in programming and budgeting decisions.


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