AIDS Treatment: physical, mental, and economic benefits all around


ART, or antiretroviral therapy drugs, became more accessible in rural Malawi in 2008 and have improved the area’s individual and collective lives as well as the economy. Before ART, even HIV-negative people were chronically depressed and unproductive because of the looming fear of death. Everyone knew of someone else with AIDS. This contributed greatly to the economic depression. After ART became more available, corn production rates shot up. Daily cultivation rose 11% and time production improved 16%. Not only do HIV-positive people now have the reassurance that they will not develop full blown AIDS, but their family, friends, and neighbors can feel more secure and contribute more optimistically to their local economy.

I think this is an example of free riding, because even though it has nothing to do with taxes- people are benefitting from a good they are not paying the price of. HIV-negative individuals are enjoying a peace-of-mind now that their neighbors are buying a new AIDS treatment.The local economy is improving for everyone because of the free-riding. In this way, I believe one could argue that HIV-negative people were also forced riders when they had to pay the price of their neighbors being HIV and AIDS ridden.

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