HIV/AIDS is imposing immense challenges in achieving social and economic development in Southern Africa. The epidemic is reducing the stock of skills, experience and human capital and, in turn, driving up costs and decreasing productivity. Resources are being diverted away from savings and investment, and the transfer of knowledge is being interrupted from one generation to the next. HIV/AIDS is generating increased demand for health services, leading to and other health care needs being neglected and compromising health care for the whole community. By eroding gains towards achieving universal primary education, HIV/AIDS is weakening the educational system and keeps children from affected areas from attending, and affects the equality of education, shortage of teachers, higher absenteeism and lower productivity. Furthermore, HIV/AIDS poses a vital threat to food security, deemed fundamental to the maintenance of human security by lowering food production and food insecurity, and long-term livelihoods failure. All these factors have a long-lasting effect on social and economic development, and make it difficult for Southern Africa to attain goals for meeting Millennium Development Goals, eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development.
Eastern Africa Social Science Research Review (2010) 26 (1) 111-126 [doi: 10.1353/eas.0.0014]