Fortune Magazine Examines Economic Consequences of HIV/AIDS on Countries That ‘Aspire To Be Global Superpowers’
The HIV/AIDS pandemic "has created a humanitarian catastrophe of little economic consequence" because two-thirds of HIV/AIDS cases worldwide "are concentrated in a region that produces just 3% of the world's economic output," according to an article published in the Sept. 6 issue of Fortune magazine. However, as HIV spreads in countries that "aspire to be global superpowers" -- such as India, Russia, Ukraine and China -- "the consequences for the global economy will be serious," Fortune reports. Although governments, not-for-profit organizations and the United Nations bear the "primary responsibility" for combating HIV/AIDS, "business has a role to play too," Fortune says, adding that businesses should provide education and treatment for employees and lobby governments to "respond aggressively" to the epidemic. However, "not much of that is happening," according to Fortune. In a 2003 World Economic Forum survey of 7,000 executives from 103 countries, 21% said that HIV/AIDS likely would have a "serious impact" on their businesses, but only 6% said they had implemented a written HIV/AIDS policy regarding treatment, prevention and discrimination, according to Fortune. But some companies -- including Viacom, DaimlerChrysler and News Corporation's Star TV -- have "joined the fight" against HIV/AIDS by running public media campaigns or providing education and treatment to employees. "For business, the big message is that either you pay now or you pay later," Dr. Helene Gayle, director of the HIV, tuberculosis and reproductive health program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said. According to Fortune, the "good news" is that the spread of HIV can be stopped by changing human behavior, and "[b]usinesspeople know how to get people to change their behavior" (Gunther, Fortune, 9/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.