HIV/AIDS, growth and poverty in KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa: an integrated survey, demographic and economy-wide analysis uri icon


  • Background: This paper estimates the economic impact of HIV/AIDS on the KwaZulu-Natal province and the rest of South Africa.
  • Conclusion: We conclude that the increase in economic growth that results from addressing HIV/AIDS is sufficient to offset the population pressure placed on income poverty. Moreover, incentives to mitigate HIV/AIDS lie not only with poorer infected households, but also with uninfected higher income households.
  • Methods: We extended previous studies by employing: an integrated analytical framework that combined firm surveys of workers' HIV prevalence by sector and occupation; a demographic model that produced both population and workforce projections; and a regionalized economy-wide model linked to a survey-based micro-simulation module. This framework permits a full macro-microeconomic assessment.
  • Our findings reveal the substantial burden that HIV/AIDS places on future economic development in KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa, and confirms the need for policies to curb the economic costs of the pandemic.
  • Results: Results indicate that HIV/AIDS greatly reduces annual economic growth, mainly by lowering the long-run rate of technical change. However, impacts on income poverty are small, and inequality is reduced by HIV/AIDS. This is because high unemployment among low-income households minimises the economic costs of increased mortality. By contrast, slower economic growth hurts higher income households despite lower HIV prevalence.

publication date

  • 2009
  • 2009