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February 2003

Announcement of a new publication

Sustainable agricultural/rural development and vulnerability to the AIDS epidemic

Joint publication by FAO and UNAIDS

The HIV epidemic is undermining the hard-earned gains of development efforts of the last 40 years. In heavily affected countries, progress in raising child survival rates is being reversed, life expectacy is declining (by an average of 17 years in nine countries with HIV prevalence rates of 10% or more): health care systems are increasingly unable to cope: businesses are experiencing significant losses in skilled and semi-skilled personnel as well as in managers which is affecting productivity, savings and investments; and governments are losing highly trained and experienced leaders in all sectors (from employment to education, social welfare, the judiciary and agriculture).

HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects sectors that are highly labour-intensive or have large numbers of mobile or migratory workers, including agriculture, transportation and mining. In subsistence, small scale agriculture south of the Sahara, labour shortages exacerbated by HIV/AIDS combined with declining household incomes are compounding food and livelihood insecurity and contributing to changes in farming practices and farming systems.

Efforts to contain the spread of HIV tend to focus on urban areas even though, given the predominantly rural composition of many developing countries, particularly in Africa, the number of rural people infected with HIV may exceed that of urban dwellers. This publication seeks to address this lacuna by focusing on how agricultural and rural development projects and programmes can contribute to reducing them. Such a focus is particularly relevant, given the continued and often rapid spread of HIV/AIDS to previously unaffected areas or areas at the early stage of the epidemic.

Click here to see the full document (pdf format).

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