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HIV/AIDS in Africa: implications for "development" and major policy implications

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Issues: One of the major and measurable impacts of AIDS is on development. This is seen primarily through the human development index (HDI). However there are other development impacts: the stock and flow of human capital is adversely affected. Socially reproductive activities are less sustainable and the levels of social cohesion may decline. The consequence of these are that "development", no matter how defined, is hit. Description: The study looked at AIDS and development. The first step was to assess where the impact of AIDS could be measured and what impact this would have for policy. The evidence is that there is an immediate and severe impact at the household level, but this is not always easy to measure. Even when it is measured this is not done consistently for example the UNDP HDI, which indicates severe falls in HDI ranking for some countries (Botswana from 71 to 122 from 1996 to 1999, where life expectancy falls from 65 to 47) but not in others with equally high prevalence (Swaziland). Furthermore the methodology here has changed. The study looked at development goals as put forward by agencies and governments. When these are viewed in the context of the HIV epidemic and its impact they become unattainable. Conclusion: The first conclusion is that the wrong measures and methods are being used to look for the impact of AIDS. The second is that international agencies are at fault in terms of the type of information they are producing and the way they are doing it. Development goals as set by governments and international agencies become unattainable. Finally, development and what it means need to be reconsidered.

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