December 01, 2006
NEW DELHI, NOV 30: As the World AIDS Day will be observed across the globe on Friday, a new report has rung alarm bells on the economic and social impact of this disease on Sub-Saharan Africa and India, which are the hardest hit.
“HIV/AIDS is causing a reduction in employment growth resulting in 1 million fewer jobs per year in the worst-hit countries”, says a report by the International Labour Office, released in Geneva on Thursday.
The 43 countries heavily affected by HIV/AIDS lost on average 0.5% in their rate of economic growth every year between 1992 and 2004 due to the epidemic, and as a result forfeited 0.3% in employment growth, says an ILO release .
World-wide 2.456 crore labour force participants between age 16 to 64 are living with AIDS today. Of these, 67% are in Africa alone. The next worst-affected continent is Asia, with an estimated 3.9 million in India alone, says the report.
Expressing concern over the number of youth and women gripped by the ‘epidemic’, the report says an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 young persons aged 15 to 24 years acquire HIV each day. Globally, 41% of the labour force participants living with HIV are women.
Cautioning governments over the severe impact of the disease on the future labour force, the report focuses on children and young people. It has found that girls face greater risks than boys of being sexually abused and acquiring HIV at their workplace, particularly through prostitution and other sexual exploitation.
Calling for the need for access to antiretroviral drug therapy and vaccination, the report says “if universal and fully effective vaccination were initiated in 2006, 3 % of workers’ lives would be saved after 4 years”.