Papua New Guinea’s AIDS Epidemic Could Hurt Economy and Exacerbate Poverty, Report Says
More than one-third of Papua New Guinea's working-age population could die from AIDS-related causes by 2020, which may prompt an economic crisis in the country, a new report released yesterday by the Australian government aid program AusAID says, Reuters reports. The report states that Papua New Guinea will host "an AIDS epidemic of African proportions" unless prevention efforts are increased. Approximately 14,000 people in Papua New Guinea are HIV-positive, and more than 88% of the country's HIV cases occur among people ages 15 to 49. The report's predictions include the following:
- In a "worst-case scenario," Papua New Guinea would lose 37.5% of workers ages 15 to 49 to AIDS by 2020.
- If HIV infection continues at current levels, Papua New Guinea's gross domestic product would drop 7% and its gross national product would decline 16.6% by 2020. The country would also have a budget deficit of 20.8% of its GDP by 2020.
- A 5% increase in HIV infection in Papua New Guinea would require a 40% increase in health spending.
- A 10% increase in HIV/AIDS prevalence in the country would lead to 30% of the population becoming infected with tuberculosis.
- If HIV infection continues at current levels, Papua New Guinea would record 2,000 AIDS-related deaths per year by 2020. By 2020, the country would also register 2,500 new HIV infections and 2,000 new AIDS cases annually (Perry, Reuters, 5/14).