PREDICTIONS of worldwide economic, social, and political ramifications that further heighten the seriousness of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic (JAMA 1988;259:3377-3378) apparently are being borne out.
Not only do the growing numbers of patients with AIDS tax already-over-burdened health care systems, says a World Bank official, but crowded city conditions have made skilled urban workers whose jobs are vital to the economy a high-risk group in developing countries. Rodolfo Bulatao, a World Bank demographer, says it's "quite possible" that today's 2% and 3% gross national product rates in some of these countries might decline to zero as a result.
Michael Gerber, PhD, executive director, African Medical and Research Foundation, says that AIDS particularly affects the 20-year-old to 45-year-old age group in many countries on that continent. Because the very old and very young depend on persons in this vulnerable age group, he says, deaths from AIDS can decimate the