HIV/AIDS Expected To Cost China Nearly $40B Over Next Five Years, Expert Says
HIV/AIDS is expected to cost China's economy nearly $40 billion over the next five years, mostly because of lost labor as people become sick or die of AIDS-related illnesses, Zeng Yi, chief scientist with the sexually transmitted infection and AIDS Prevention Center of the Ministry of Health, said on Wednesday, Xinhuanet reports (Xinhuanet, 6/7). The Chinese government estimates that there are 650,000 HIV-positive people in the country, 75,000 of whom have developed AIDS. According to the government, in 2005 there were 70,000 new cases of HIV and 25,000 AIDS-related deaths and the country's current HIV/AIDS prevalence is approximately 0.05% (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/26). Speaking at a Chinese Academy of Sciences conference, Zeng said China is likely to lose about $36 billion in human resources to HIV/AIDS from 2006 through 2010 (Xinhuanet, 6/7). That figure represents less than 0.3% of China's projected accumulated gross domestic product over the next five years, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 6/7). Zeng said HIV/AIDS also will cost $2 billion in productivity and GDP in the next five years in the agricultural sector, citing the calculations of economist and CAS member Li Jingwen. Zeng called for an increase in AIDS vaccine research over the next five years in an effort to minimize future economic losses because of the disease and estimated that the research will cost the country about $125 million. Zeng also called for the establishment of a national fund to support the vaccine effort through investments by local governments and businesses, as well as private donations and international cooperation (Xinhuanet, 6/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.