South Africa Plans ‘Dramatic’ Rise in HIV/AIDS Spending
South Africa will nearly double its spending on HIV/AIDS to about $173 million in the next fiscal year, Reuters Health reports. According to Thami Skenjana, director of the Government AIDS Action Plan, in the fiscal year beginning in April the government will spend about $173 million, up from $96 million this fiscal year. The Treatment Action Campaign recently called on the government to institute a "full package of prevention and treatment." The group estimated that costs for treatment and prevention would crest at $1.9 billion in 2015. However, TAC said the program "could be phased in" over the next ten years with the cost in 2003 likely to be under $29 million, Reuters Health reports. Currently South Africa spends around $2.7 billion on all health services (Reuters Health, 10/7).
'Time Bomb' of AIDS Orphans
In related news, up to three million South African children will be orphaned by HIV/AIDS in the next 10 years, creating a "time bomb of crime and civil unrest," according to researcher Martin Schoenteich, Agence France-Presse reports. Schoenteich, a researcher at the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies, told the Sunday Independent, "We know that HIV/AIDS will make South Africa poorer at a macro level. At a household level the impact will be even more acute, because once a breadwinner dies, the economic impact on the children left behind can be quite drastic." The orphan population will "exert an upward pressure on levels of interpersonal crime, including murder, violent assault and rape," he added. "The burgeoning orphan population, which will grow up under extreme levels of poverty, will be sorely tempted -- or even obliged for its physical survival -- to turn to crime, drugs, gangs and the sex trade," the Sunday Independent said. By 2010, nearly 6.5 million people are expected to have died from AIDS-related causes and around 2.5 million children under the age of 15 are expected to have become AIDS orphans, according to the South African Institute for Race Relations (Agence France-Presse, 10/6).