Intended for healthcare professionals


Doctors and nurses with HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 09 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:584
  1. Dan J Ncayiyana, vice chancellor (
  1. Durban Institute of Technology, PO Box 1334, Durban 4000, South Africa

    “We're going to run out of people before we run out of money”

    Much has been written about the impact of the HIV and AIDS pandemic on the healthcare delivery systems and resources in central and southern Africa. The unremitting pressure on hospitals and other healthcare facilities,1 and the disproportionate use of healthcare resources by the ever increasing numbers of patients, are threatening to undermine the capacity of countries such as South Africa to provide a comprehensive health safety net for the rest of the population.2

    An additional threat that has received little or no attention in the literature is the possible impact of illness and death due to the pandemic specifically among healthcare professionals in countries with high HIV prevalence rates. A Medline search on this topic by using a variety of keyword combinations proved unproductive. Therefore the findings a 30% mortality over 20 years largely attributed to HIV infection among a cohort of Ugandan doctors in the article by Dambisya in this issue represent an important …

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