File image: IOL.

CAPE TOWN - Today, December 1 marks World Aids Day. As people all around the world unite against this devastating illness, take a look at the severe economic impact that HIV/AIDS has on South Africa's economy. 

South Africa had an estimated 7.1 million people living with HIV in mid-2016, according to South Africa’s National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV, TB and STIS during 2017-2022.

Of this 7.1 million infected people, nearly 270 000 were newly infected. This reflects a 12.8% prevalence rate among the entire population. 

In addition to this, there was a recorded 110 000 HIV/Aids related deaths in 2016. 

NSP has since answered to the dire HIV epidemic by budgeting R78 billion. 

READ: Cape Town lauds 100% increase in HIV/Aids treatment

In addition to this, South Africa has been allocated R6.6 billion from the US government for 2017. 

This falls under the United State’s President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar’s) operational plan budget. 

The allocation has been granted to support South Africa’s HIV/Aids and Tuberculosis programmes. 

Despite the improvement in HIV and AIDS statistics, there is still a great deal of funding that is needed. 

Meanwhile, in September this year, United States President Donald Trump announced that he plans to cut costs of the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief Programme. 

Trump's plans to cut foreign aid supporting costs could cost 9 million years of lost life in South Africa and Ivory Coast, according to a global study. 

This will be catastrophic for South Africa which has the highest prevalence of HIV worldwide at 19%. 

"Would the relatively small savings realised by currently proposed budget reductions be worth these large humanitarian costs?", said lead author Rochelle Walensky, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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