HIV and AIDS have devastating effects on health systems. Strengthened health systems are crucial to the realisation of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Strong health systems in high prevalence countries are the key to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals in terms of halting and reversing the spread of HIV and AIDS by 2015.
Recent research has demonstrated that cash transfer programmes piloted in countries with high HIV prevalence have a significant impact on poverty reduction in households affected by HIV and AIDS, while supporting livelihoods, enabling access to education and improving nutrition. Cash transfers may prevent households affected by AIDS from adopting non-reversible coping strategies. They may prevent diversion away from household savings to pay for medical or funeral expenses. They may further prevent the sale of livestock or the removal of children from school to care for sick adults or to engage in income earning activities. In this regard, AIDS-sensitive rather than AIDS-specific targeting criteria should be applied.
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Declarations made at international summits on the fight against HIV/AIDS through social protection:
- The Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS signed at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (2001) commits governments to ‘review the social and economic impact of HIV/AIDS at all levels of society, especially on women and the elderly, particularly in their role as caregivers.’ It commits member states to implement by 2005 ‘national policies and strategies that provide a supportive environment for orphans and girls and boys infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.’
- The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (2002) also commits member states to ‘introduce policies to provide support, health care and loans to older caregivers to assist them in meeting the needs of children and grandchildren in accordance with the Millennium Declaration.’
- The Millennium Development Goals commit UN member states to halving, by 2015, the number of people living in extreme poverty and halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS.
- The impact of HIV/AIDS on social security systems. The importance of prevention and access to ARVs
- Social Security systems shouldn’t in principle exclude HIV positive people: The commitment of the ILO Code of Practice
- Cash Transfers for older people taking care of AIDS Orphans
- Investing in health: The “Diagonal Financing Approach” in the field of HIV/AIDS