A decade of investments in monitoring the HIV epidemic: how far have we come? A descriptive analysis.
BACKGROUND: The 2001 Declaration of Commitment (DoC) adopted by the General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) included a call to monitor national responses to the HIV epidemic. Since the DoC, efforts and investments have been made globally to strengthen countries' HIV monitoring and evaluation (M&E) capacity. This analysis aims to quantify HIV M&E investments, commitments, capacity, and performance during the last decade in order to assess the success and challenges of national and global HIV M&E systems. METHODS: M&E spending and performance was assessed using data from UNGASS country progress reports. The National Composite Policy Index (NCPI) was used to measure government commitment, government engagement, partner/civil society engagement, and data generation, as well as to generate a composite HIV M&E System Capacity Index (MESCI) score. Analyses were restricted to low and middle income countries (LMICs) who submitted NCPI reports in 2006, 2008, and 2010 (n = 78). RESULTS: Government commitment to HIV M&E increased considerably between 2006 and 2008 but decreased between 2008 and 2010. The percentage of total AIDS spending allocated to HIV M&E increased from 1.1% to 1.4%, between 2007 and 2010, in high-burden LMICs. Partner/civil society engagement and data generation capacity improved between 2006 and 2010 in the high-burden countries. The HIV MESCI increased from 2006 to 2008 in high-burden countries (78% to 94%), as well as in other LMICs (70% to 77%), and remained relatively stable in 2010 (91% in high-burden countries, 79% in other LMICs). Among high-burden countries, M&E system performance increased from 52% in 2006 to 89% in 2010. CONCLUSIONS: The last decade has seen increased commitments and spending on HIV M&E, as well as improved M&E capacity and more available data on the HIV epidemic in both high-burden and other LMICs. However, challenges remain in the global M&E of the AIDS epidemic as we approach the 2015 Millennium Development Goal targets.