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The impact of HIV/AIDS on productivity and lose of labor a case study of US and Africa

According to the International Labor Organization 26 million people that are infected with AIDS/HIV are working and Africa holds the 70% of them, as stated by the UNAIDS in 2001. In fact, those people are at their peak of their working lives, since they lie between the ages of 15 to 49 years. That being said, it comes naturally that AIDS/HIV has turned into a significant factor that threatens not only those people’s families, but national economies as well, by creating deficiency on the labor market.

Productivity is experiencing a dramatic drop, since workers infected with AIDS/HIV lose work-days and their efficiency at work, due to their infection. Given the profound number of infected adults in sub-Saharan Africa (indicatively, 36% of adult population in Botswana and 20% of adults living in South Africa are infected, based on UNAIDS estimates), it is obvious that sub-Saharan Africa is suffering from a major problem in their workforce that affects their productivity. In particular, Africa’s prevalence rate is eight times more than the world’s, while the US Census Bureau estimates that life expectancy in that region will dramatically fall, from approximately 60 years to about 30.

What is more, ILO projects that the population in African countries will drop between2% and 20%, by 2020, due to their citizens being infected by AIDS/HIV, which in turn will have a direct impact not only on those countries’ productivity, since countries will see a proportion of their working people die, but also long-lasting social implications as well. When it comes to the African countries, it isestimatedthat they will lose approximately 1/3 of their skilled and educated population. The major concern is both the reduction of a country’s workforce and the qualityof the work being delivered by people infected by AIDS/HIV, given the fact that most of them are probably highly skillful workers at their prime productivity age.

On top of that, productivity lowers because losing workforce from AIDS automatically creates a new generation of orphans (up to 10% of the total population in African countries) that will most likely enter the labor market at a young age, unfortunately without skills, as a means to support and tone up theirfamily’s financial state. Consequently, the country’s workforce age is lowered and the same applies to the experience and skills of its workers.

Of course, no issue within a country is one-dimensioned; therefore, productivity will not be the only sector that will be affected by the HIV, since many children will start dropping out of school to make ends meet for their families. And the chain reaction has merely started…

As far as America is concerned, the most severe AIDS/HIV burden in experienced by African-Americans, and the impact of the epidemic has spread to all states. Furthermore, the CDC reports that there are more than 1 million people infected in the US and 50,000 people add up annually.

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