About rethinkHIV

About us

Innovative, Disruptive Ideas

The Rush Foundation was founded in September 2010 to help breathe new thinking into HIV policy and on-the-ground interventions in sub-Saharan Africa.

Our name conveys our determination to cut through the clutter of consensus solutions to provide fast, effective funding for innovative, disruptive ideas to address the pandemic and its social effects.

We are a small, self-funded organisation which doesn't have to cater to donor consensus. We therefore have a higher risk tolerance than most and we are impatient with obstacles to fresh thinking. In fact, when it comes to tackling this pandemic, we think new, disruptive perspectives are most likely to be the game changers we need.

We aim to stimulate policy debate which generates new perspectives and leads to tangible improvement in government and donor HIV priorities. We also pioneer new on-the-ground approaches by seeding innovation in research, livelihood improvements, behaviour change, etc.

We seek to stay away from well-beaten tracks and focus on funding initiatives that are either overlooked or poorly served by previously existing efforts.

Rush was founded to help breathe new thinking into HIV policy and on-the-ground interventions. That is why we created RethinkHIV in partnership with the Copenhagen Consensus Centre.

Thirty years after the identification of the disease that became known as AIDS, humanitarian organizations warn that the fight against HIV/AIDS has slowed, amid a funding shortfall and donor fatigue. Yet HIV is still the biggest killer of women of reproductive age in the world, and of men aged 15-59 in sub-Saharan Africa. Time is ripe for a reassessment of current policy and expenditure.

Rush asked the Copenhagen Consensus Centre to commission a group of leading health academics to analyze policy choices and to identify the most effective ways to tackle the pandemic across sub-Saharan Africa.

RethinkHIV identifies effective interventions in the fight against HIV/AIDS across sub-Saharan Africa. It applies cost-benefit analysis to highlight investments and actions that can make a significant difference.

RethinkHIV commissioned eighteen research papers by teams of top health economists, epidemiologists, and demographers who examine the cost-effectiveness of a range of responses to HIV/AIDS in sub- Saharan Africa.

Body of research

Eighteen research papers have been written by teams of top health economists, epidemiologists, and demographers examining a range of responses to HIV/AIDS in sub- Saharan Africa under the following topics:

  • Efforts to Prevent Sexual Transmission
  • Efforts to Prevent Non-Sexual Transmission
  • Treatment and Initiatives to Reduce the Impact of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
  • Vaccine Research and Development
  • Social Policy Levers
  • Initiatives to Strengthen Health Systems

Six key analyses, or ‘Assessment Papers’, are supplemented by twelve ‘Perspective Papers’. The body of research was released online on this website in September 2011, and will be published in full in RethinkHIV by Cambridge University Press.

A panel of five eminent economists, including three recipients of the Nobel Prize, convened in late-September 2011 to carefully consider the research and engage with the authors. The Expert Panel was tasked with answering the question:

If we successfully raised an additional US$10 billion over the next 5 years to combat HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, how could it best be spent?

Nobel Laureate Expert Panel

After deliberating in a closed-door meeting, the Nobel Laureate Expert Panel provided their assessments, highlighting investments and actions that could be most effective avenues for additional funding.

Engaging Civil Society

To participate in a dialogue on the research and findings within sub-Saharan Africa, a Civil Society Conference and forums for youth were around the ICASA conference in Addis Ababa in December 2012.