|Poverty and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa (UNDP, 1998, 11 p.)|
The HIV epidemic has its origins in African poverty and unless and until poverty is reduced there will be little progress either with reducing transmission of the virus or an enhanced capacity to cope with its socio-economic consequences. It follows that sustained human development is essential for any effective response to the epidemic in Africa. A conclusion that has yet to permeate approaches to the epidemic not only in Africa but more or less everywhere. While the HIV epidemic makes sustained human development more and more unattainable, and actually adds to poverty, it also destroys the human resource capacities essential for an effective response.
Herein lies the problem: how to achieve the sustainable development essential for an effective response to the epidemic under conditions where the epidemic is destructive of the capacities essential for the response. Simple answers to this problem do not exist, but at least recognition of its existence is a step towards its solution. The next step has to be the development of policies and programmes that address the inter-relationships between poverty and development and to actually put in place those activities that can make a difference for development outcomes. Central to these activities are programmes that address poverty today so as to facilitate future socio-economic development tomorrow. For unless the intergenerational effects of HIV are addressed now then it is optimistic in the extreme to assume that Africa will become a pole of development in succeeding decades.