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Americans Say Maintain or Increase Funding for Global Health and Development, But Take Care of Problems at Home First in the Recession
Date:5/7/2009

tly spends too little on HIV/AIDS in developing countries, compared with a third (33%) of whites.

Declines in Visibility Of, Urgency About Global HIV/AIDS

U.S. government funding for global health more than doubled between fiscal year 2004 and fiscal year 2008, in part because of a 5-year, $15 billion effort by the U.S. to fight global HIV/AIDS through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

In spite of that effort, or perhaps because of it, the poll also reveals a notable decline in the public's sense of urgency about and reported visibility of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as a global concern.

About one in five adults in the U.S. (21%) name HIV/AIDS as the most urgent health problem facing the world, ranking it second behind cancer (31%). That was a marked drop from surveys conducted from 2000 to 2006, in which about a third labeled HIV/AIDS the most urgent problem.

The decline may be partly related to changes in how much people report hearing about the problem of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Twenty-six percent of Americans say that they have heard "a lot" about AIDS in Africa in the past year, about half the share who said so in 2004.

Understanding "Foreign Aid"

A majority of Americans believe that the U.S. spends too much on "foreign aid." But perceptions of spending on global health may be shaped in part by what the public believes aid is used for and misperceptions of the size of foreign aid in the context of the overall budget.

For instance, public support for more spending increases when foreign aid is described more specifically in terms of health-related goals. Although 52 percent say the U.S. is spending too much on foreign aid in general, this decreases to 23 percent when it comes to spending on "efforts to improve health for people in developing countries." Support for current levels of aid
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SOURCE Kaiser Family Foundation
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