HIV/AIDS Epidemics Negatively Affecting Development Progress of African, Former Soviet Union Nations, Report Says
HIV/AIDS has contributed to major reversals in human development in sub-Saharan Africa and some of the former Soviet Union republics, according to the Human Development Report 2005 released on Wednesday by the U.N. Development Programme, the Los Angeles Times reports (Farley/Murphy, Los Angeles Times, 9/8). The Human Development Index ranks countries based on their residents' abilities to live long and healthy lives, become educated and have a decent standard of living. Twelve of the 18 countries that have experienced a backslide in development between 1990 and 2003 are in sub-Saharan Africa, with Southern Africa being hardest hit, the report says. South Africa dropped 35 places to 120th on the HDI, Zimbabwe has dropped 23 spots and Botswana has slid 21 places. HIV/AIDS has contributed to reversals in health, food security, education and other areas in the Southern African region, according to the report. The epidemic erodes household incomes and the social and economic infrastructure (IRIN News, 9/7). Life expectancy in Botswana has dropped 20 years since the 1970s to 36 years, while people living in Zambia are less likely to reach age 30 than a person who was born in the United Kingdom in 1840 (Zavis, AP/Boston Globe, 9/7). HIV/AIDS also has contributed to development reversals in Tajikistan, which fell 21 places on the index; Ukraine, which fell 17 places; and Russia, which fell 15 places (Los Angeles Times, 9/8). The report also says countries need to redistribute aid spending to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. According to the report, for every $1 wealthy nations spend on development aid, they spend $10 on military budgets. Annual spending on HIV/AIDS initiatives represents only three days of military spending, the report says. The Human Development Report will be presented next week at the U.N. 2005 World Summit in New York (Elliott, Guardian, 9/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.