Aids's Economic Toll Is Staggering, Too

The global economic impact of the AIDS epidemic could be as staggering as its toll on human lives. A new study by forecaster DRI/McGraw-Hill estimates that by the year 2000, soaring AIDS-related medical expenses and lost productivity across the world could cost as much as $500 billion annually. That's as if an economy the size of Mexico's just disappeared.

Hit hardest by the epidemic will be Africa and the Middle East, which could see their gross domestic product depressed by more than 4% by the end of the decade. Asia, outside of Japan, could lose as much as 3% of national output. And though Japan so far has a low reported infection rate, it could suffer from depressed exports to North America and the rest of Asia, where the epidemic is having a greater direct impact. DRI says the Japanese economy will lose about 1% of GDP--about as much as the U. S.

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