India’s growing AIDS problem

Miranda Kennedy Jul 27, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: India’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. Last year, 8 percent growth, but a United Nations study says there is a cloud hanging over India’s bright future. More now from Miranda Kennedy.

MIRANDA KENNEDY: India is home to more people infected with HIV or AIDS than any other country in the world, according to the UN. That’s more than five million people.

The new study predicts that as the virus spreads among India’s labor force, it will cut nearly one percentage point a year off of India’s economic growth.

Ashok Alexander, who runs the AIDS project at the Gates Foundation, says India has been growing fast because of its young population.

ASHOK ALEXANDER: One of its strengths today is the fact we have a large number of people in that young age group, and when it starts affecting young people who are in their working prime, so to speak, that’s how I think of the economic impact as being potentially very, very destabilizing.

Alexander believes AIDS will destabilize India because not only will it depress productivity, it will push up health spending by households and the state, crowding out investment and stalling growth.

In New Delhi, I’m Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.

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