HIV/AIDS has a dramatic impact on communities around the world, particularly in Africa. Individuals, households, and the extended community confront not only health issues and loss of life due to HIV/AIDS, but the economic implications of this disease as well. Increased financial pressure on individuals and households comes from dealing with unplanned expenses such as medical bills, additional spending on more nutritious foods for those who are sick, transportation to health centers, and the cost of supporting children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. In addition, incoming resources often diminish if individuals are no longer physically able to contribute to farming, business, employment, or other earning activity; are stigmatized and cannot generate the same levels of income because of market exclusion; or die. Low-income people are more acutely affected by these financial strains because they have fewer resources on which to draw.
This microNOTE explores how savings services can help households build up their asset base to prepare for the economic shocks brought about by HIV/AIDS. It offers examples of savings products, describes the key questions to ask before attempting to manage deposits in HIV/AIDS affected markets, and lists some of the challenges to providing savings services.