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Year 2012

Medical Expenses Impoverishing Families With HIV+ Members: Study

Times of India
26 March 2012
By Neha Madaan
Pune India

The medical expenses incurred by families who have at least one HIV positive member are a serious strain on their finances, pushing many of them into a “poverty trap”.

This was revealed in a field survey of 401 such families in the city, undertaken by the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (GIPE) to gauge the economic profile of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and the socio–economic impact of HIV at the household level.

The families surveyed are registered with a city NGO, which works towards providing socio–psycho, legal support and counselling to PLHIV. Though the study included households from all strata of society, and from varied economic backgrounds, nearly 50% of the sample group was from the lower economic categories. The study was completed under the guidance of Sanjeevanee Mulay, former associate professor at GIPE.

Varun Sharma, who undertook the study, is a former senior research fellow at GIPE and currently assistant professor at the Institute of Health Management Research (IHMR) in Bangalore. He said the study was an attempt to estimate the relationship between HIV prevalence and poverty. “We cannot overlook the fact that PLHIV from the lower socio–economic background, especially from the slum areas in cities like Pune, are most vulnerable. This should be considered while drafting policies and programmes concerning HIV,” he said.

Sharma said the study used economic methods such as Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Standard of Living Index (SLI).

Based on these two indices, the study found that families with HIV+ persons are more destitute compared to other families.

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