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Archive Thursday, 26 October, 2000, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Sunday 23/01/2000 BBC 2 19.30hrs
Sunday 23/01/2000
BBC 2 19.30hrs

The Price of Life
South Africa offers economic promise to the entire continent. With the biggest economy, best infrastructure and most skilled workforce, it has the potential to act as a financial locomotive for Africa's poor.

Yet all this is threatened by an epidemic which threatens to destroy the social and business structure of the country. AIDS is sweeping through the population, apparently unchecked. Almost half of South Africa's mineworkers are said to be infected with the HIV virus. Nearly a quarter of all pregnant women carry the disease, as do at least 10 per cent of the entire population.

Treatments to alleviate the symptoms of the infected, and to curb transmission to unborn children, are available - but expensive. And western drug companies see scant financial incentive in spending a fortune on seeking a vaccine when those who really need it couldn't afford to pay.

In the first Money Programme of the 21st century, Nils Blythe examines HIV's economic impact on South Africa, and what can be done to offer hope to this country - and the poorest continent on earth More...


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