The relationship between HIV/AIDS and economic development is complex. HIV/AIDS negatively affects economic growth on one hand and, a weak economy makes it difficult for nations and individuals to mount adequate and comprehensive responses to the epidemic on the other. In addition, reports show that poverty is a powerful co-factor to the spread of HIV/AIDS. The economically and socially disadvantaged, women, youth and other marginalized groups in the society, are disproportionately affected by the epidemic.
Ill health and death due to AIDS are reported to have reduced agricultural labour force, productivity and disposable incomes in many families and rural communities. Data from Kagera, one of the regions most severely affected by HIV/AIDS in Tanzania, indicate that the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined from USD 268 to USD 91 between 1983 and 1994 respectively. Although the decline in GDP was multi-faceted, AIDS was believed to be a major cause. Indeed similar trends of declining GDP were associated with reduced agricultural production and increase in number of AIDS cases in Tanga region.