Approximately 39 million people worldwide currently live with HIV/AIDS, with 4.1 million more infected annually. Each year, about 2.8 million die due to HIV/AIDS-related illnesses, leaving behind 15.2 million orphans. Increasingly, this pandemic is being recognized as a major economic development challenge, posing serious socioeconomic consequences at national, community, and household levels. Poor households and communities are the hardest hit, facing increased vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and few means of protection against economic crises.
Microenterprise development can help families and communities address the economic challenges of HIV & AIDS in several ways including:
- Helping families develop more profitable or diverse income sources to increase and stabilize family income.
- Stabilizing family cash flow through microfinance programs such as savings, credit, insurance, and remittance services.
- Developing physical, human, financial, and social assets.
Working together, AIDS Support Organizations (ASOs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs) can play an important role in mitigating the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS on poor households and communities.