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The number of HIV-related deaths each year is falling globally, treatment is becoming more effective and cheaper, yet the rate of new infections is still too high to reach the UN’s goal of less than 500,000 new infections per year by 2020. CGD’s work on the economics of HIV introduced the concept of the AIDS transition—the point in time when the number of people living with the disease begins to fall. Our work also models the effects and implications of policies to reduce new infections and expand treatment.
We here at CGD tend to be critical of international agencies like WHO or the UNDP for establishing targets or guidelines without sufficient consideration of the impacts, for good and ill, of those guidelines in the affected countries. Such guidelines often apply standards more appropriate to rich countries and then pressure poor countries to behave as if they were rich.
Clear and rigorous evidence on the contributions of US global health programs is more important than ever, as the White House and lawmakers discuss and debate budgets and the future of US support to global health. Such information aids policymakers who must prioritize support to effective public health programs.
At our recent event, “How Can Finance Ministries Support a Sustainable HIV Response?” representatives from PEPFAR and the US Department of Treasury came together to discuss an innovative partnership between them and with finance ministries around the world. The partnership aims to improve the coordination and productivity of resources devoted to combatting HIV/AIDS in low- and middle-income countries, and to strengthen the long-term feasibility of these efforts.
Without PEPFAR, it’s safe to say that almost all of Africa would be stuck near zero HIV treatment coverage. Instead, 49 percent of HIV-infected people were receiving life-saving treatment in 2014, rising to 56 percent by 2015, and the top-performing countries are still gaining ground. This dramatic increase in treatment coverage is a prodigious achievement—and the United States deserves most of the credit. But despite these accomplishments, much more work is needed to reach the end of the epidemic.