Microfinance and HIV/AIDS
This short brief points out that the consequences of the HIV/AIDS virus are exponential, touching not only those infected with HIV/AIDS, but also depleting the economic and social resources of entire families and communities. Furthermore, it notes that in countries heavily affected by HIV/AIDS, microfinance institutions (MFIs) and the donors that support them are struggling to combat the impact of the epidemic on clients and MFI institutional viability.
The brief suggests that affected households can use financial resources as one way to protect and build their economic resources. But at the same time it argues that launching a financial intervention specifically to target persons with AIDS, would not be appropriate, given that financial services depend on the ongoing ability of clients to earn income. Instead, MFIs that operate in hard-hit regions can serve families and supporters of infected people and can benefit by planning for the institutional risk posed by HIV/AIDS. They can also build effective links to specialised providers of health and insurance services.
The brief is set out in four sections that attempt to answer the following questions:
- How does HIV/AIDS affect poor households?
- How can financial services best be used in communities grappling with HIV/AIDS?
- How can financial institutions be effective in heavily affected HIV/AIDS areas?
- What can donors do to support an effective microfinance response to the HIV/AIDS?