Across Southern Africa HIV/AIDS threatens to block and even reverse democratic consolidation. Lost incomes, higher health and labour costs, shrinking tax bases and decreasing productivity undermine the economic growth necessary to sustain democratic government in the countries of Southern Africa.
Sustainable democracies require a professional civil service and strong, viable and autonomous courts, legislatures, executives and electoral systems at national and local levels. AIDS related death and illness among cabinets ministers, legislators and public officials threaten the political institutions that are necessary to give effect to the rules of democracy. Sharply reduced adult life expectancy, and increasing proportions of people living with AIDS, remove incentives for large sections of the populace to participate in democratic politics or comply with the rules of the democratic state.