To investigate trends in official development assistance for health, HIV and non-HIV activities over time and to discuss the efficiency implications of these trends in the context of achieving universal access to treatment and health systems.Methods
Official development assistance for health, HIV programmes and non-HIV programmes were tracked using data from 2000 to 2009. A review of the literature on efficiency, treatment and health systems was conducted.Findings
The rate of growth of donor funding to HIV programmes has slowed in recent years at levels below those required to sustain programmes and to move towards universal access to treatment. These trends are likely due to increased pressure on foreign aid budgets and donor fatigue for HIV programmes.Conclusions
There is great need to consider how the limited resources available can be used most efficiently to increase the number of lives saved and to ensure that these resources also benefit health systems. Improving efficiency is much more than just improving the productive efficiency and also about ensuring that resources are going to where they will be the most beneficial and making investments that are the most efficient over time. These choices may be essential to achieving the goal of universal access to treatment as well as the sustainability of these programmes.