World Bank: AIDS could cause economies of developing countries to collapse

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com July 24 2003 11:00 PM ET

A study released Wednesday by the World Bank suggests that the economic impact of AIDS in developing nations could cause economic collapse in those countries within two generations, The Boston Globe reports. The study, titled "The Long-Run Economic Costs of AIDS: Theory and an Application to South Africa," found that AIDS weakens the economies of developing nations in three ways--by mainly affecting and killing young adults who play vital roles in advancing economic development; by weakening or destroying families, which may prevent children from attending school; and by convincing children that contracting AIDS is inevitable, thereby reducing their commitment to education and career development.

Previous studies have suggested that AIDS could reduce the gross domestic products of developing nations by 0.3% to 1.5% per year, but the new World Bank study suggests the impact will be far greater. "This report confirms how important it is for policy makers to act swiftly and effectively to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and to treat those with the disease," said Clive Bell, a World Bank research fellow and coauthor of the study. "Keeping infected people alive and well so they can continue to live productive lives and take care of the next generation is not only the compassionate thing to do, but it is also vital for a country's long-term economic future."