Although HIV/AIDS infection is a global problem, the epicentre of the disease lies in Africa. In fact, about 70
per cent of the global HIV/AIDS infected population can be found in sub-Saharan Africa (UNAIDS, 2000). The
reported HIV/AIDS sero-prevalence rate for South Africa was estimated at 23.5 per cent in 2000 (Department
of Health, 2000). This high rate of HIV/AIDS infection poses enormous problems and challenges to the
economic development of the country, more so because HIV/AIDS affects the most economically productive
sector of the population. The high rate of HIV/AIDS infection also calls for an urgent need to assess the
socio-economic impact of the pandemic in the country. This paper focuses on the impact of HIV/AIDS on
rural households in Limpopo province. The high level of poverty in this province (i.e. 59 per cent) makes this
assessment even more pertinent, given the fact that poverty stands to increase people's vulnerability to
HIV/AIDS, while HIV/AIDS-related morbidity and mortality may cause affected households to be forced into
poverty. The specific objectives of this paper are as follows
(i) To assess the economic impact of HIV/AIDS on rural households in Limpopo Province (e.g. the impact of
HIV/AIDS on household size, household income, household expenditures, household savings, household
assets, and household borrowings).
(ii) To identify rural households' coping strategies for mitigating the adverse economic impact of HIV/AIDS.
(iii) To put forward appropriate policy recommendations to mitigate the economic impact of HIV/AIDS on rural
households in Limpopo Province.