News

World Bank Urges Greater HIV Prevention Efforts

A patient suffering from HIV is taken to a local hospital in Harare, January 31, 2012.
A patient suffering from HIV is taken to a local hospital in Harare, January 31, 2012.
Joe DeCapua

The World Bank says significantly better HIV prevention efforts are needed in Africa. It says a slow global economy and uncertain donor aid make preventing new infections a necessity.

A new World Bank report says the world’s economic woes are causing “anxiety about maintaining and expanding AIDS treatment programs in low income countries.”

Co-author Elizabeth Lule said concerns about tight budgets coincide with much progress being made against the disease.

“HIV prevalence, especially among young people, is going down in southern Africa. In countries where there’s highest burden, young people have better knowledge. They’re using condoms consistently. They’re reducing partners. So there is a lot of progress,” she said.

Also in recent years, studies have shown that giving antiretroviral drugs to HIV negative people can protect them from becoming infected. And there’s been progress in vaccine research, although an effective vaccine is still considered years away.

Fiscal dimension

“We shouldn’t just be looking at HIV/AIDS as a health problem, but also as an economic problem because of the huge costs that are incurred in treating people as well as prevention. And we highlight the importance of continuing to use effective prevention in order to contain future costs,” she said.

The report is called The Fiscal Dimension of HIV/AIDS in Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland and Uganda.

“There’s been very limited analysis on the fiscal dimension of HIV/AIDS for countries to understand the future liability that they take on, especially if they do not reduce new infections. They would only be adding to the burden,” she said.

Lule, the World Bank’s acting director for regional integration in Africa, said treating HIV/AIDS can only be done on a long term basis.

“When a person gets HIV/AIDS it usually takes a number of years before they develop full-blown AIDS. But then once you put them on treatment you cannot stop. And they may survive, of course, for a long time and the countries have to incur those costs. And then the more new infections you have the more people you have to treat in the future. And therefore the higher costs that countries would have to incur,” she said.

But while the World Bank calls for significantly better HIV prevention efforts, it does not propose specific ways to do that.

Lule said, “There isn’t any HIV strategy that works effectively everywhere. Countries have to understand and know their epidemic. In countries like Uganda, Brazil and Thailand, where they had a lot of success in reducing HIV infections, it was mainly using a combination of behavior interventions, biomedical interventions, as well as structural interventions that look at the underlying causes.”

Cost per infection

The study tries to calculate how much money a country would save if it prevented one HIV infection. For example, it says Uganda would save nearly $6,000 for each new infection that was prevented. South Africa could save $2,500 per infection.

“So it’s a huge saving if they really did prevention more effectively. And then they would be able to afford maintaining the treatment as well as investing in prevention,” she said.

Lule said countries with poor health systems or a shortage of health workers may face challenges strengthening their prevention efforts. She added effective programs will require partnerships involving governments, donors and people living with HIV.

What’s more, the World Bank official says even without a global recession, available resources must be used effectively and efficiently in the future.  Currently, more than 6 and a half million people are receiving treatment for HIV/AIDS, but about 30 million are currently living with the disease.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs