Objectives: To assess the impact of HIV/AIDS on household welfare. Explore the relationship between HIV/AIDS and poverty especially in relation to the Poverty Eradication Action Plan as well as make policy recommendations regarding action necessary to reverse or reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on households (HHs).
Data sources: A cross-sectional study that utilised qualitative and quantitative research methods. Data were collected on the socio demographic profile; level of income; illness incidence and failure to work; loss of income due to illness; health expenditures for the last two months and modes of coping with health care costs.
Study selection: Study districts were selected based on regional representation and the HIV seroprevalence rates. The country is divided in four regions and the district with the highest seroprevalence in each region was selected.
Data extraction: Data was entered and analysed using EPINFO and proportions expressed as percentages.
Data synthesis: There were no children headed HHs among the controls and female and widowed HHs heads were more among the infected/affected HHs. The total average two months' expenditure on health care for control HHs was US $25 compared to US $95, for infected/affected HHs. Thirty two point two percent of HH heads who had missed work in the previous month gave illness as reason in the control group compared to 77.2% among infected/affected HHs. Fifty nine percent of these reported to have lost all their source of income as a result of the illness and 2.3% had salaries reduced. Twenty seven percent of the control HHs had children of school going age not attending school compared to 49% among the infected/affected HHs. Only 1.2% among the controls and 8.1% in the affected gave looking after the sick as reason. Methods of coping with cost of health care included sale of assets and withdrawing savings.
Conclusion: The study shows that HIV/AIDS impoverishes affected/infected households.