Confirming the Impact of HIV/AIDS Epidemics on Household Vulnerability in Asia: The Case of Cambodia
Alkenbrack Batteh, S.E., Forsythe, S. Martin, G. et al. AIDS (2008), 22 (1): S103–S111. doi: 10.1097/01.aids.0000327630.00469.40.
The ability of individuals and household members to reduce the risk of HIV depends, in part, on their economic and social wellbeing. For many households, the impact of HIV and AIDS has increased economic distress and vulnerability. HIV and AIDS household impact studies can inform policy by illuminating groups at greater risk to future HIV infections due to declining economic conditions. Similarly, impact studies point out how the epidemic can undermine national development policies and increase poverty levels. Debate has occurred, however, about the implications of economic impacts of HIV and AIDS on households. The authors of this study assessed 1,000 households living with or affected by HIV and AIDS in both urban and rural areas of Cambodia to determine the impact of the epidemic, compared to households not affected by HIV and AIDS. The study found that affected households spent more on medical care and funerals and cut other spending, such as on food. Income levels of affected households were lower, because of the loss of an income earner, than non-affected comparison households. HIV- and AIDS-affected households sold assets and borrowed money; and their children were more likely to work than those in comparison households.