South Africa is currently facing one of the most severe HIV/Aids epidemics around the world, by the end of 2005 there were 5 and half million people living with HIV/Aids. Of those affected, the majority fall into the most productive sector of our economy (Cohen, 2000). In light of this the economy is still growing and is expected to continue growing, however, with more people being infected by the virus every day the question posed is, "how long will our economy continue to grow?" With an expected large scale roll out of antiretroviral treatment(ARV's) that is unparalleled by any other low or middle income country and an ever increasing health care budget, Government appears to be tackling the pandemic head on (ASGISA, 2006). However in light of the recent world Aids conference coupled with our own President's non committal stance on whether HIV causes Aids, mixed signals as to the prevention of HIV/Aids are being sent.
With the GDP expected to decline steadily over the next decade due to lower productivity caused by Aids, the target of 6% growth proposed by the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA) seems to be gradually falling out of reach.
Brief History of Aids in South Africa
The first recorded case of AIDS in South Africa was diagnosed in 1982, and although initially HIV infections seemed mainly to be occurring amongst gay men, by 1985 it was clear that other sectors of society were also affected. The most rapid increase in South Africa's HIV prevalence took place between 1993 and 2000, during which time the country was distracted by major political changes. While the attention of the South African people and the world's media was focused on the political and social changes occurring in the country, HIV was silently...