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Spread of HIV Threatens India's Economy, Official Says

November 28, 2006

The spread of HIV in India, as well as looming water shortages and the volatile oil market, is threatening India's economy, Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said on Sunday at the India Economic Summit organized by the World Economic Forum, the AP/International Herald Tribune reports. The three-day annual summit, which has gathered 700 delegates, is focusing on risks to India's economic growth. A further spread of HIV is likely to "hamper economic development by reducing workforces, diminishing productivity and cutting household incomes," according to a WEF paper, titled "India at Risk" (AP/International Herald Tribune, 11/25). "We must be more open about sex," Chidambaram said at the summit, adding that authorities in India have been "ducking the issue" of HIV/AIDS. There are 5.7 million HIV-positive people living in India, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 11/27). Tuberculosis, population growth, climate change and increasing protectionism are additional threats to the country's economy, according to the WEF paper (AP/International Herald Tribune, 11/25).

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