HIV/AIDS, growth and poverty in KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa: an integrated survey, demographic and economy-wide analysis

Thurlow, James and Gow, Jeff and George, Gavin (2009) HIV/AIDS, growth and poverty in KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa: an integrated survey, demographic and economy-wide analysis. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 12 (18).

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Background: This paper estimates the economic impact of HIV/AIDS on the KwaZulu-Natal province and the rest of South Africa.
Methods: We extended previous studies by employing: an integrated analytical framework that combined firm surveys of workers' HIV prevalence by sector and occupation; a demographic model that produced both population and workforce projections; and a regionalized economy-wide
model linked to a survey-based micro-simulation module. This framework permits a full macromicroeconomic
Results: Results indicate that HIV/AIDS greatly reduces annual economic growth, mainly by lowering the long-run rate of technical change. However, impacts on income poverty are small, and inequality is reduced by HIV/AIDS. This is because high unemployment among low-income
households minimises the economic costs of increased mortality. By contrast, slower economic growth hurts higher income households despite lower HIV prevalence.

Conclusion: We conclude that the increase in economic growth that results from addressing HIV/AIDS is sufficient to offset the population pressure placed on income poverty. Moreover, incentives to mitigate HIV/AIDS lie not only with poorer infected households, but also with uninfected higher
income households.
Our findings reveal the substantial burden that HIV/AIDS places on future economic development in KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa, and confirms the need for policies to curb the economic costs of the pandemic

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Authors retain copyright. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2009 05:26
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2014 06:39
Uncontrolled Keywords: HIV; AIDS; economic impact; KwaZulu-Natal province; South Africa
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences > 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140202 Economic Development and Growth
14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140208 Health Economics
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920413 Social Structure and Health
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1186/1758-2652-12-18

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