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    Economic analysis of HIV / AIDS. Background paper.

    Bonnel R

    Washington, D.C., World Bank, AIDS Campaign Team for Africa, 2000 Sep. 16 p.

    HIV/AIDS is a major development crisis. Not since the Black Death devastated medieval Europe has humankind observed infectious disease deaths on such a scale. Life expectancies, which rose steadily before the onset of the HIV epidemic, are decreasing in nearly all the 25 countries where the adult prevalence rate exceeds 5 percent. In the countries most heavily affected by HIV/AIDS, life expectancy is projected to fall to about 30 years by 2010– a level not seen since the beginning of the 20th century. Various factors related to poverty, inequality, gender inequality, sexually transmitted infections, social norms, political and social changes, including labor migration, conflicts and ethnic factions have facilitated the rapid spread of HIV. But what has enabled HIV/AIDS to undermine economic and social development is its unprecedented erosion of some of the main determinants of economic growth such as social capital, domestic savings and human capital. For these reasons, the HIV epidemic has been transformed from a health issue into a much wider issue impairing economic and social development. Because it prevents an increasing share of the population from participating in economic growth, the HIV/AIDS epidemic increases poverty. The result is a vicious circle whereby HIV/AIDS reduces economic growth and increases poverty, which in turn accelerates the spread of HIV. Preventing further spread of HIV/AIDS, in addition to providing care and support programs to those both affected and infected by this epidemic, requires early intervention and the mobilization of external resources. The purpose of this paper is to discuss and quantify the economic rationale that underlies such an effort. (excerpt)
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