AIDS impedes development efforts


aids researchWASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- If AIDS is not tackled, it will be virtually impossible for many low-income countries to develop, a new study says.

In September 2000, 189 governments committed to achieving eight Millennium Development Goals to improve living standards worldwide. But the AIDS epidemic will stall progress toward reaching at least five of these goals, according to an analysis in PLoS Medicine by Robert Hecht and colleagues at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and EASE International.

The disease will wreak havoc with efforts to halve extreme poverty and hunger, reduce childhood deaths, achieve universal primary education, improve maternal health and tackle infectious diseases such as TB and malaria, the researchers write.

A high rate of HIV and AIDS lowers economic growth by up to 1.5 percent annually with an even greater impact in Africa, the study says. An examination of 80 developing countries found that in a hypothetical African country with 1 in 5 people infected with HIV, the rate of GDP growth would be 2.6 percent lower each year than it would have been in the absence of AIDS.

source - UPI