1a International Development Institute , King's College, University of London , London , UK.
During the 1990s, Brazil and Russia diverged in their policy response to AIDS. This is puzzling considering that both nations were globally integrated emerging economies transitioning to democracy. This article examines to what extent international pressures and partnerships with multilateral donors motivated these governments to increase and sustain federal spending and policy reforms. Contrary to this literature, the cases of Brazil and Russia suggest that these external factors were not important in achieving these outcomes. Furthermore, it is argued that Brazil's policy response was eventually stronger than Russia's and that it had more to do with domestic political and social factors: specifically, AIDS officials' efforts to cultivate a strong partnership with NGOs, the absence of officials' moral discriminatory outlook towards the AIDS community, and the government's interest in using policy reform as a means to bolster its international reputation in health.