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PUBLISHED ON 1 Dec 2015
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POLICY BRIEF 3: HIV INVESTMENT IN UGANDA

by RUSH

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!

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