HIV has disproportionately affected economically vulnerable populations. HIV medical care, including antiretroviral therapy, successfully restores physical health but can be insufficient to achieve social and economic health. It may therefore be necessary to offer innovative economic support programs such as providing business training and microcredit tailored to people living with HIV/AIDS. However, microfinance institutions have shown reluctance to reach out to HIV-infected individuals, resulting in nongovernment and HIV care organizations providing these services. The authors investigate the baseline characteristics of a sample of medically stable clients in HIV care who are eligible for microcredit loans and evaluate their business and financial needs; the authors also analyze their repayment pattern and how their socioeconomic status changes after receipt of the program. The authors find that there is a significant unmet need for business capital for the sample under investigation, pointing toward the potentially beneficial role of providing microfinance and business training for clients in HIV care. HIV clients participating in the loans show high rates of repayment, and significant increases in (disposable) income, as well as profits and savings. The authors therefore encourage other HIV care providers to consider providing their clients with such loans.
A Microfinance Program Targeting People Living with HIV in Uganda: Client Characteristics and Program Impact.