Original Articles

The economic burden of HIV and AIDS on households in Nigeria


The study estimates the economic burden of HIV and AIDS on households in a Nigerian population. The data derive from a cross-sectional survey of households affected by HIV or AIDS in Ife-Ijesa Zone, Osun State, Nigeria. The sample consisted of 117 purposively selected, consenting adult HIV patients attending a general and teaching hospital. Participants were asked to self-report monetary expenses for HIV-related care, loss of savings, and funeral costs. The data show a significantly sharp drop in the participants' household income as a result of care for HIV-related illnesses, from the time of knowing one's HIV status to the time of illness, among three occupational categories (artisans, civil servants and unemployed; p = 0.02). Mean income among those in the unemployed category fell by 84.1%, income among artisans dropped by 72.6%, and income among civil servants decreased by 44.4%. The monetary loss during the course of HIV-related illnesses was heaviest for the artisan group, followed by the unemployed and the civil servants. Those who had lost a substantial part of their savings to HIV-related care were most numerous among the unemployed, followed by artisans and civil servants. Out of 16 households, 11 (42.3%) had received support from relatives during a funeral ceremony. There was a significant association between the occupational group and working for more hours after illness (χ2 = 9.28, df = 4; p = 0.05). Nearly all orphaned children were distributed to the extended family following the AIDS death of a parent. Among all the occupational groups, borrowing from a cooperative society during the course of HIV-related sickness was the commonest form. The findings add to data showing that despite the extended family support system, adult deaths due to AIDS continue to undermine the viability of sub-Saharan African households.

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