AIDS Alert International

The pandemic: By the numbers

The HIV pandemic’s impact on Africa and other areas is dramatic by both human and economic standards, according to the latest UNAIDS numbers. Here’s what has happened:

• The estimated annual per capita growth in the gross national product in half of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa is falling by 0.5%-1.2% as a direct result of AIDS. By 2010, per capita gross domestic product may have declined by 8%, and per capita consumption will have fallen even farther.

• The number of people living in poverty has increased by 5% in some countries, at least partially due to AIDS.

• Governments and private sector companies are losing skilled employees to the epidemic, and they are facing higher costs in training, insurance, benefits, absenteeism, and illness, as well as in health care costs, which are expected to increase 10-fold within a few years.

• In the hardest-hit countries, productivity growth may be cut by as much as 50%.

• Lower food production is being reported in some areas due to households having to switch to less labor-intensive and less nourishing crops and due to families having to sell land and other assets to cover the costs of AIDS care and funerals.