Defining and measuring the costs of the HIV epidemic to business firms

Public Health Rep. 1994 May-Jun;109(3):311-8.


Most published estimates of the costs of the epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) have been developed from the societal perspective, attempting to measure the burden of the epidemic to society in this country. Although societal cost analysis is well-developed, relatively little is known about many of the factors influencing the costs of the epidemic to business firms. The business community may bear a substantial portion of those costs in the form of health-related benefits provided to workers. Other effects of the epidemic in the workplace are related to fears and stigma associated with the illness. The author compares frameworks for analyzing the costs of the epidemic to the business community and to society. Societal costs include direct costs, the resources used in providing health care, and indirect costs, the resources lost to society as a result of the epidemic. Costs to business include illness-based employment costs, legal or administrative costs, prevention costs, perception-based employment costs, care giver costs, and nonmonetary costs. Not all societal costs are borne by business, and businesses may incur costs that are not traditionally measured from the societal perspective.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Commerce / economics*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Disease Outbreaks / economics
  • Employer Health Costs
  • HIV Infections / economics*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Occupational Health Services / economics
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology