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The impact of HIV/AIDS on the NGO sector and population policies in sub-Saharan Africa

Rachel S. Robinson, American University

Although scholars and practitioners generally agree that the HIV/AIDS epidemic has distracted funding and attention from the family planning and reproductive health arenas (cf. Blanc and Tsui 2005; Shiffman 2008), less is known about the impact of the epidemic on the non-governmental organization (NGO) sector and on national policies. Using unique data on NGOs and population policies in sub-Saharan Africa, I show that NGOs have disproportionately come to focus on HIV/AIDS, regardless of individual countries’ experiences with HIV/AIDS, and that HIV/AIDS has been “tacked-on” as an area of concern to population policies. The former suggests that NGOs may not be targeting the areas of greatest need, while the latter suggests that neither population issues nor HIV/AIDS issues will be sufficiently addressed. Both conclusions are concerning trends in need of attention from policymakers, funders, and the NGO community.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Poster Session 1: reproductive health, HIV-AIDS, poverty and gender