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Conceptual shifts for sound planning: towards an integrated approach to HIV/Aids and poverty

Dr Roland Msiska

August 2002


Posted with permission of Dr Roland Msiska, UNOPS office, Pretoria.
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In a report presented at the XIV International Conference on AIDS in Barcelona, 2002, UNAIDS emphasised the reality that more than 28 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are currently living with HIV/AIDS. This means that just over 70% of the total global population living with HIV/AIDS is concentrated in the region. The report also reveals that 81% of the total number of women living with HIV/AIDS live in sub-Saharan Africa, as do 87% of all children living with HIV/AIDS. At the same time, the region hosts 11 million children who are orphaned due to the epidemic, which means that eight out of ten AIDS orphans worldwide live in sub-Saharan Africa. In contrast to earlier assumptions about how epidemics develop and plateau, the report notes that, based on global trends, HIV/AIDS is at the early stage of development and that its long-term evolution is still unclear.

There is, however, no doubt that HIV/AIDS poses one of the most critical development challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. The reason why sub-Saharan Africa is disproportionately vulnerable to HIV/AIDS stems, to a large extent, from the high levels of poverty in the region.1 Thus, the key policy imperative is to develop frameworks and interventions that reduce poverty whilst simultaneously preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. Such an integrated response to poverty and HIV/AIDS also needs to take into account that millions of people are currently living with HIV/AIDS and that there is an increasing need for treatment, care and impact mitigation interventions to prevent more people from falling into poverty.

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