Skip navigation
C. The Fatal Side Effect of Austerity

Narrator: This is Science Today. Researcher Peter Lurie of the University of California, San Francisco says the World Bank and International Monetary Fund contribute to the spread of AIDS in developing countries. Lurie says those organizations' lending policies force poor countries into adopting austerity programs. One effect is to impoverish the countryside, driving people into crowded cities where they're more likely to be exposed to AIDS. Another is that educated professionals flee.

Lurie: People have left places like Jamaica and the Philippines in particular, leaving fewer health care professionals behind to either work in HIV prevention or in its treatment.

Narrator: In addition, says Lurie, cost-cutting leads to a decrease in the little money set aside for HIV prevention.

Lurie: For example, in the United States, the government spends $2.95 per person for HIV prevention, and many of us regard that sum as in sufficient. But in sub-Saharan Africa the comparable amount is only seven cents, whereas the great majority of HIV infections are in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.