HIV and AIDS are one of the worlds most serious and deadly diseases. The disease HIV is spread most commonly by sexual contact with an infected partner. AIDS is caused by the progession of HIV virus. AIDS is a disease that causes a mass reduction in CD4+ T cells. As the cells continue to drop in number, the immune system deteriorates, and individuals suffer from a multiple of related deseases, and eventully dies( Slowik, 2002). UNAIDS estimates that approximately 60 million people have been infected since the beginning of the epidemic, a significant proportion of these individuals reside in Sub Saharan Africa. An epedic of HIV and AIDS has a significant impact on the ecomony of a country(Slowic,2002). This essay in particular will focus specifically on the the effects of hiv and aids on the economy of South Africa. Aids effects the ecomony of South Africa by increasing the number of orpans and charity groups, by raising the cost of health care and education, and lowering the countries GNP.
The HIV and Aids epidemic will produce a large number of South African Orphans. In 1997, 12.91 percent of South African adults suffered from HIV or AIDS. In 1998 South Africa had close to 700,000 AIDS orphans, and by 2005 14 percent of South African children will have lost their parents to AIDS (Hunter-Gault, 2002)
After the death of the parents; relatives, volunteer groups, and ministers assist the orphaned children. Since there are no state run orphanges, charity groups must raise funds and set up orphages. The orphanges are often overcrowded and lack supplies. One orphanage in Soweto is descibed as a former pigsty with uncovered rooms. Other organizations make door to door deliveries. The Ikageng Itireleng AIDS Ministry for example, is Soweto-based volunteer group that looks after over 100 AIDS orphans. The group provides meals, pays the electricity and telephone bills, provides donations for school transportation, finds businesses to pay for school uniforms and fees, and donate clothing. Those who do not reside in orphanages, reside with the extended family. One woman known as Mama Jila manages a clan of 17 childeren. As a mother of seven, she inherited six grandchildren from two of her own children who give way to AIDS. The others are from several more other relatives. The woman atmits to getting help from neighbors and charity organizations but sais: “its not enough to keep all the children in school or even to clothe them properly.”
Although parentless children living in orphanges and in the crowded homes of relatives may seen like a socail problem it leads way to a number of economic problems. Parentless children lead to increased spending in welfare and state supported orphanage programs. Most of the childrens families are too poor to support another child and the majority fall through the cracks of the child welfare system.
Another economic effect of HIV and aids in South africa is the increase need for trained medical professionals. South Africa has estimated 5.3 million people infected with the AIDS virus, more than in any other country(Itano, 2002). With the number of citizens infected,funding and labor are streched to the limit. The intense labor conditions and lack of adequate pay, has caused a large amount of South African doctors and nurses to emigrate. Many say that the they care for over 40 patients per day and are significanly under paid. One doctors saids that the averege workload in Britin is 6 patients per day, with atleast three times the pay. The South African Medical Association estimates that at least 3,500 of its 26,000 practicing doctors are living abroad. The shortage is only expected to get worse, 10 percent of doctors surveyed by the South African Medical Journal said they may leave within the next five years, and 1 in 3 new doctors doing their required one-year community service said they plan to emigrate(Itano 2002).
The staggering presence of Hiv/aids has also increased the spending in health care and prevention. Already, two-thirds of the country’s total spending on health care. According to a recent government study, the cost of treating all AIDS patients in the country by 2010 will be $2.4 billion to $3 billion per year. The Aids epidemic has also decreased the profits of many drug manufacters(Murphy, 2003). Many phamacuitacal companies have donated Aids treatment medications. In 1996, Pfizer donated the drug Diflucan to South Africa. The daily dose of Diflucan costs about $15 in South Africa. At an annual income of $6000, $15 is more than the country’s poor can afford. Activist groups are also demanding companies to lower prices in South Africa. The Thai price of the generic AZT is about 70 cents, while the South African government pays about $7.50(Boyd, 2003).
Aids also cost South Africa in Gross National Product or (GNP). GNP is the total market value of goods and services produced by all citizens and capital during a given period (usually 1 yr)(Johnson 2000). In 1996 Aids cost the country almost 8% of GNP. By 2005 the South African government estimates that AIDS will costs the country 2% of GNP each year(Choynce 1999). Aids also effects the productivity of proffesionals such as civil servants, engineers, teachers, miners, and military personnel. The presence of Aids has decreased the work force, affected productivity and increased monies spent by companies on heath care. Some companies hire two people for every position assuming that one will most likely die from Aids. The work force has also decreased because young women are having to drop out of school to act as substitute laborers and care givers for HIV infected parents.
HIV and AIDs Effect the econmy of South Africa by increasing the spending on welfare programs, increaseding spending on heath care and education, and by decreasing the Gross National Product. Economic implications can be lessened by preventing new infections, Designing major development project appropriatly, and by mitigating the effects of Aids on poverty. To prevent the spead of disease South Africas should implement prograns hat educate the population on the spead of disease, provide free counciling, testing and condoms. In 1997 a simular program estimated that 237 new infectons were preventedand the use on condoms increased to 29 percent from 13 percent(Bollinger, Stover, 1999). Designing major development projects appropriately an also prevent new infections. Major construction programs require workers to spend long periods away from home, which increase prostitution. Specail villiges could be built around construction areas so that workers can live with their families. Finally, the effect of aids could be lessened by providing home health care to aids patients and implementing fostercare programs for orphans. Seventy-eight percent of middle class families said that they would be willing to take in foster children if they were extended some financial support(Bollinger, Stover, 1999).
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