Wall Street Journal Examines Impact of HIV/AIDS on Botswana’s Economy
The Wall Street Journal today in a front-page story examines the impact of HIV/AIDS on the economy of Botswana, which has the highest rate of the disease worldwide. In the 30 years before the "explosion" of AIDS in the mid-1990s, per-capita income in Botswana had increased to $3,300 from $300, which contributed to a higher life-expectancy rate and a lower infant mortality rate. However, after the construction of an "extensive and well-maintained" road system, HIV began to spread throughout the nation. Today, 35.8% of adults in Botswana have HIV/AIDS, which is "cutting a wide swath through the most productive generations," the Journal reports. The AIDS epidemic could reduce Botswana's economic growth by 30% by 2022, when the nation's workers may contribute an average of only five years of labor to the economy, compared to 15 to 30 years today. Life expectancy in Botswana may decrease to less than 30 years by 2010, compared to more than 40 years today. In addition, the Journal reports that development programs in Botswana "will likely be scaled back" as a result of the cost of HIV/AIDS treatment. According to Botswana's government, antiretroviral treatment for the nation's HIV-positive residents will cost about $500 million over the next five years (Thurow, Wall Street Journal, 8/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.