Today, Romania spends about 70 million euros for HIV treatment, care and support towards reaching universal access, covering 12,247 people with HIV out of 15,212 as of 2017. However, “the Romanian authorities invest practically no money in HIV prevention”, says Nicoleta Dascalu, project manager from the Romanian Association Against AIDS – ARAS. That is why becoming ineligible for the Global Fund’s support of HIV became yet another dramatic episode in Romania’s HIV history.
The Global Fund’s Revised Eligibility Policy was approved at the 39th Board Meeting. In the revised version, the OECD DAC ODA requirement unfortunately was left as it was – but the term “political barriers” in the same provision was replaced with just “barriers,” with a note that eligibility for funding under this provision will be assessed by the Secretariat as part of the decision-making process for allocations. In addition, the Secretariat will look specifically at whether there are laws or policies that influence practices and seriously limit and/or restrict the provision of evidence-informed interventions for key populations.
It is not clear yet if the replacement of the term “political barriers” with just “barriers” will somehow influence Romania’s chance to receive an allocation for its HIV component within the next allocation period; speculation suggests probably not. The only chance for the Romanian HIV component to become eligible again for Global Fund funding is the elimination of the relevant requirement in the Eligibility Policy, says Dragos Rosca, the Executive Director of the Romanian Harm Reduction Network.