Social and Economic Stress Related to the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Botswana

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Thabo T. Fako
J. Gary Linn
Dolly Ntseane
Lorna Kendrick


Botswana, AIDS, stress


The paper describes the consequences of HIV/AIDS in Botswana; the country with the highest HIV prevalence rate in Africa.  In addition to frequently experienced trauma due to sickness and death, many households experience rising health expenditures and a sharp deterioration of incomes.  High levels of morbidity and mortality among workers result in depressed returns on investment, reduced productivity and increased expenditure on training and replacement of workers.  As the health care system finds it increasingly difficult to cope, home-based care provides an inadequate solution since the home infrastructure of many households is inadequate for proper care of seriously ill patients.  The stigma associated with AIDS often isolates fragile households and provides an environment in which abuse of infected individuals and of orphans whose parents have died of AIDS is not uncommon.  The quality of education also suffers, resulting in an ill prepared skilled manpower, with adverse consequences for social, economic, and political development as well as for good future governance of the country.

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