Narrator: This is Science Today.
Developing countries in economic trouble go to the
World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for
loans. In return for the loans, they have to institute
what are called structural adjustment programs,
which are actually austerity programs.
Lurie: They're a series of conditions that they have to agree to if they wish to get the loans.
Narrator: Researcher Peter Lurie of the University of California, San Francisco contends that those programs lead to the spread of AIDS in developing countries by forcing profound changes in the ways people live and work.
Lurie: One of the things that structural adjustment programs do is they emphasize exports. And exports are for the most part concentrated in urban areas. So the result has been that rural areas have become increasingly impoverished and people have been forced to leave those areas in search for work.
Narrator: And as people crowd into cities, says Lurie, they're more exposed to AIDS. Adjustment programs also require countries to build modern highway systems from outlying areas to the cities.
Lurie: This has also meant that HIV infection can spread more quickly than it otherwise would have been able to.
Narrator: According to Lurie, the overall result has been to increase the AIDS epidemic. For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.