|Poverty and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa (UNDP, 1998, 11 p.)|
There are two bi-causal relationships which need to be understood by those involved in policy and programme development. These are:
· the relationship between poverty and HIV/AIDS - which includes the spatial and socio-economic distribution of HIV infection in African populations, and consideration of poverty-related factors which affect household and community coping capacities; and
· the relationship between HIV/AIDS and poverty - understanding the processes through which the experience of HIV and AIDS by households and communities leads to an intensification of poverty.
To make sense of these relationships there has to be an understanding of the complex socio-economic processes at work in African societies, together with a conceptualisation of poverty which is multi-dimensional. It follows that analysis of the issues has to encapsulate:
· the gender dimensions of poverty - in particular that the poorest households are often female headed;
· the intergenerational aspects of poverty - the importance of seeing poverty as part of dynamic social, economic and political processes;
· the qualitative as well as quantitative measures of poverty - giving appropriate weight to those aspects of poverty which delineate and define capacities and contributions by individuals and households to socio-economic and political processes, and how these are changed by the epidemic; and
· the ways in which the HIV epidemic alters the complex relationships between the poor and the wealthy - through changes in income and asset distributions brought about by the epidemic and through an intensification of processes of social exclusion.