Averting large numbers of HIV infections through harm reduction programmes will not only save lives but also makes sound development policy, even for a resource-constrained country such as Afghanistan. Because much HIV-related mortality occurs in adults in their productive age, the short-term and medium-term economic consequences for infected individuals, partners, and households are severe.14–15 Although application of estimates from other regions and countries to the Afghan context is difficult, prevailing urban wages and health-care expenditure patterns in Afghanistan,16,17 combined with standard mortality estimates by duration since infection,18 suggest that even if Afghanistan and international donors spend up to $2000 per HIV infection averted, the total economic returns (both private and public) on such an investment would be large—possibly as high as 300% per infection averted. This estimated return takes into account only the costs of wages foregone and of health and home care. The economic benefits would presumably be even higher if the subsequent detrimental outcomes to children and others in a household that suffers an HIV-related death are also included.
Another Lancet article Health and Money in Afghanistan written on the eve of the Presidential elections in 2004.
Our original post on this subject Aids and Opium Production in Afghanistan from June 15.