Squaring the Circle: AIDS, Poverty, and Human Development

Squaring the Circle: AIDS, Poverty, and Human Development

A greater understanding of the relationship between poverty and HIV is essential

This report from UNAIDS highlights the differences between the effects of AIDS on poverty, and the effects of poverty upon the risk of acquiring HIV. HIV and poverty are linked but the report sites recent evidence that indicates that HIV is a disease of inequality, often associated with economic transition, rather than a disease of poverty in itself. The authors state that factors such as gender inequality and weakened social cohesion are important contributors to this equation.

The report concludes that greater understanding of the relationship between HIV and poverty is essential. To this end six steps are suggested:
• AIDS programmes must be tailored to individual country needs
• efforts should be made to combine HIV programmes with poverty reduction initiatives, such as microfinance
• the provision of HIV treatment can help prevent poverty and indirectly contribute to HIV prevention by breaking down stigma
• development plans generally must contribute to aids prevention and treatment in the communities they work in.
• poverty reduction programmes must reduce vulnerability to HIV, particularly for women and young people
• increased international support, driven by high-level political will is needed to address AIDS in the world poorest countries and communities

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