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Impact of AIDS on rural livelihoods in Benue State, Nigeria

T. Hilhorst, M. J. van Liere, A.V. Ode, K. de Koning

Since the early 1990s, several studies have looked at the impact of HIV/AIDS and household responses, mainly in East and Southern African countries where HIV infection has reached rates in excess of 30% of adult populations (Kwaramba, 1998; Rugalema, 1999; Luzobe, Muheewa, Olaunah, Wandui, & Kalenzi, 2001; Shah, Osborne, Mbilizi & Vilili, 2002; Muwanga, 2002; Booyens & Arntz, 2003; SADC-FANR, 2003; Yamano and Jayne, 2004). These studies concluded that AIDS has a disproportionate impact on the morbidity and mortality of the most productive age groups. Its impact on households is characterised by a sharp reduction in the available time, labour and other resources of individuals and households, even leading to loss of assets. Because the disease has both a long incubation period and is accompanied by a lengthy period of illness, the socio-economic as well as
psychological impact will be felt over a prolonged period. In addition to the suffering this causes, the increase in AIDS prevalence adversely affects individual lives as well as state development and efforts to alleviate poverty. In West Africa, the HIV/AIDS epidemic developed at a slower pace but infection rates are rising fast. Because countries have their own unique contexts, it cannot be assumed that the findings of East and Southern African studies on the impact of the epidemic can be extrapolated and used in a straightforward way to develop policy in other region

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