India to suffer loss of 1% GDP due to AIDS/HIV: Expert

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Bangalore, Nov 3 (UNI) India, ranking third in the world in highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS after South Africa and Nigeria, is estimated to suffer a loss of over one per cent of its national GDP by 2015, South Asia ILO Technical specialist HIV/AIDS S M Afsar said quoting a study by National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCEAR).

Speaking at a workshop on 'HIV/AIDS - Vulnerability of Industry in Karnataka' here today, Mr Afsar said India should take timely action to check this problem.

He said according to a report of World Economic Forum 2004, 'Business and HIV/AIDS in Asia', the current impact of the disease on businesses in Asia stood at 30 per cent, while India accounts for 46 per cent.

The impact of the disease would be around 37 per cent in Asian firms in five years and 50 per cent in India, he added.

Quoting an ILO study in India on the impact of HIV/AIDS on Singreni Colories Company Limited (SCCL) in Andhra Pradesh, Mr Afsar said the company had spent Rs 65 lakh during the last five years for payment as compensation to 29 employees who were declared as unfit to work due to the disease.

The company had 311 employees living with HIV and if they all reach the stage of being unfit to work the company would have to pay Rs 933 lakh. Provision of treatment (ART) to these employees for ten years would cost Rs 559 lakh, he added.

HE stated truck drivers were no longer the primary carriers of HIV/AIDS and the disease had started engulfing almost all sector, affecting the GDP.

The most number of HIV/AIDS cases were being reported in construction, chemicals, mining and quarrying, capital goods, textile, tourism and hospitality and BPO.

Exhorting the industrialists to adopt a workplace policy to address the issue, Mr Afsar said several companies had developed a policy with ILO's assistance.

UNI

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