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Lancet. 2008 Jul 26; 372(9635):333-6.Funds available for HIV/AIDS programmes in low-income and middle-income countries rose from US$300 million in 1996 to $10 billion in 2007. However, a combination of worldwide economic uncertainty, a global food crisis, and publications that indicate discontent with progress in fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic will not only threaten to restrict increases in the overall availability of both donor and national funds, but will also increase the competition for resources during the move towards universal access to treatment and prevention services. Thus, UNAIDS will be under increasing pressure in its presentation and justification of resources needed for HIV/AIDS programming. Here I discuss UNAIDS' 2007 estimates of resource requirements for fighting HIV/AIDS in terms of their usefulness to both donor and recipient governments for budget planning and for setting priorities for HIV/AIDS programmes. I identify weaknesses in the UNAIDS estimates in terms of financial transparency and priority setting, and recommend changes to improve budgeting and priority setting.