The rapid spread of HIV in the 1980s and 1990s in the non-industrialised world is now leading to an AIDS epidemic. This in turn is having a demographic and economic impact on these societies. This article assesses the most recent evidence for these impacts. It concludes that, while there is already a real and measurable impact, there is far worse to come. The demographic consequences will be particularly serious. Economic impact is rather more uncertain, and the article looks at the macro-economic impact as well as that on firms. In addition, it is postulated that economics may not be the most appropriate discipline to assess the true effects of the disease.
British Medical Bulletin (2001) 58: pp. 73-88 [doi:10.1093/bmb/58.1.73]