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This article is part of the supplement: The OptAIDS project: towards global halting of HIV/AIDS

Open Access Highly Accessed Review

The impact of HIV/AIDS on human development in African countries

Abdesslam Boutayeb

Author Affiliations

Faculty of Sciences, University Mohamed Ier, Boulevard Mohamed VI BP: 717, Oujda-Morocco

BMC Public Health 2009, 9(Suppl 1):S3  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-S1-S3

Published: 18 November 2009

Abstract

Background

In the present paper, we consider the impact of HIV/AIDS on human development in African countries, showing that, beyond health issues, this disease should and must be seen as a global development concern, affecting all components of human development. Consequently, we stress the necessity of multidisciplinary approaches that model, estimate and predict the real impact of HIV/AIDS on human development of African countries in order to optimise the strategies proposed by national countries, international institutions and their partners.

Methods

In our search strategy, we relied on secondary information, mainly through National Human Development Reports of some African countries and regular publications released by the United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank. We restricted ourselves to reports dealing explicitly with the impact of HIV/AIDS on human development in African countries.

Results and discussion

HIV/AIDS is affecting the global human development of African countries through its devastating impact on health and demographic indicators such as life expectancy at birth, healthcare assistance, age and sex distribution, economic indicators like income, work force, and economic growth, education and knowledge acquisition and other indicators like governance, gender inequality and human rights.

Conclusion

On the basis of the national reports reviewed, it appears clearly that HIV/AIDS is no longer a crisis only for the healthcare sector, but presents a challenge to all sectors. Consequently, HIV/AIDS is a development question and should be viewed as such. The disease is impeding development by imposing a steady decline in the key indicators of human development and hence reversing the social and economic gains that African countries are striving to attain. Being at the same time a cause and consequence of poverty and underdevelopment, it constitutes a challenge to human security and human development by diminishing the chances of alleviating poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child and maternal mortality, and ensuring environmental sustainability.