The response to HIV and AIDS has to be funded, whether the emphasis is on prevention, treatment, or both. AIDS is unique in part because of its complex financing. It requires long-term commitments for those increasing numbers on relatively expensive lifesaving treatment. ‘Funding the epidemic’ looks at the history of funding from the mobilization of international money into low- to middle-income countries to the increased domestic funding from government budgets fed from general tax revenues. Looking forward, AIDS resource needs are projected to increase at least until 2020. The problem is that treatment for people living with HIV is long-term and these costs remain unacknowledged by governments and donors.