NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 24, 2004

The AIDS epidemic is shrinking the economies of many African countries, says a new report from the International Labor Organization.

The report, presented at the international AIDS conference in Bangkok in July, confirms that millions of workers are lost annually through death or disability due to AIDS:

  • By 2005, the global workforce will have lost 28 million workers to AIDS since the epidemic started.
  • Without access to life-lengthening drugs, two million workers with AIDS worldwide will be too sick to work by 2005.
  • The rate of economic growth in 50 countries surveyed slowed by 0.2 percent a year from 1992 to 2000 as a result of death or disability due to AIDS.

Some governments are passing legislation to counteract the impact of AIDS on the workforce and production. A Cambodian law on prevention and control, for example, obliges businesses and public bodies to provide AIDS-prevention programs in the workplace. Romania has passed a law banning discrimination against employees and job seekers with HIV or AIDS.

Source: Fiona Fleck, "Developing economies shrink as AIDS reduces workforce," British Medical Journal, July 17, 2004.


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