HIV/AIDS, Households, and the Informal Economy in Africa: An Endnote from the Field
This chapter provides a brief endnote discussion of the likely impact of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic on African households and the informal sector. The African household is a fundamental economic decision-making unit located primarily in the informal or subsistence economy. It accounts for most agricultural production and self-employment. Morbidity and mortality due to AIDS reduces the human capital available to the household. Members of the household who are ill are less productive and work only a few hours. The morbidity and mortality of women has a bigger impact on the African household than the death of a male. Females are the backbone of most informal economies and upon their sickness or death usually no one is available to take over. HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa will have a major effect on the informal economy. Women, who are most affected by the pandemic, are the backbone of the informal economy, especially the agricultural sector.