Despite remaining a major killer in Africa, the HIV pandemic has been tamed medically into a chronic
disease through advances in treatment drugs – antiretroviral therapies (ARTs).
Judith Kabajulizi and Professor Mthuli Ncube of Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University write that the full economic costs, over a lifecycle horizon, of keeping people on treatment and implementing prevention
measures, are still not fully quantified and are still unfolding. Indeed, the economic effects of the
HIV/AIDS disease, and also the economic effects of various interventions need to be better understood.
It turns out that there are economic benefits to investing in HIV. Such benefits come from increased
labour supply, higher productivity, higher consumption, impact on imports and exports.
The overall impact is an increase in GDP growth of 2% per annum, for Uganda, for example, over the next 35 years
(see Kabajulizi and Ncube (2015)). Given that Uganda’s HIV ‘debt’ is 35% of GDP, then the rate of return
from investing in HIV over 35 years is 186%! What an investment!
RethinkHIV is a consortium of senior researchers from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Imperial College London, Harvard School of Public Health, Centre for the Study of African Economies and Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University.
The consortium will evaluate new evidence related to the costs, benefits, effects, fiscal implications, and developmental impacts of HIV interventions in sub-Saharan Africa, in order to maximise contributions to the fight against HIV there.
The aim of RethinkHIV is to find ways of creating, optimising, and sustaining fiscal space for domestic HIV investment, as well as exploring long-term, sustainable national and international financing mechanisms. RethinkHIV is funded by RUSH Foundation.