Updated 11 July 2014

Why life insurance is important for those who are HIV positive

Most people take out life insurance either to take care of themselves in the event they become disabled, or die from natural causes, an illness. So why not HIV-infected people...


In South Africa there are an estimated 6.4 million people living with HIV/Aids, the National HIV Prevalence, Incidence and Behaviour Survey 2012 study by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) revealed.

This showed an estimated overall prevalence of HIV increase from 10.6% in 2008 to 12.2% in 2012.

Yet despite these staggering numbers, most of these people do not have life insurance cover.

Most people take out life insurance either to take care of themselves in the event they become disabled, or to provide financially for their family in the event that they die from natural causes, an illness or an accident.

Read: An end to HIV?

Why life insurance is important

Having access to life insurance is not only about ensuring the financial stability of one’s family and beneficiaries in the event of your death, but it has an impact on how you life your life too.

And with statistics showing that more and more people are living longer with HIV, their quality of life may be hindered by the fact they do not have life insurance. The reason for this is that having life insurance gives them better access to loan finance to buy property or the opportunity to invest in business prospects while they are still healthy.

On a psychological level, having life insurance despite being diagnosed with a condition such as HIV can do wonders for the HIV+ person as it serves to remind that HIV is no longer a death sentence, but rather a chronic disease with can be managed with the right treatments.

And with the government’s ever expanding ART treatment programme, the number of people living with HIV for extended periods is growing rapidly.

Read: Zim crisis driving HIV decline

The HSRC survey indicated that more than two million people were on ART by mid-2012, suggesting that the country was on its way towards universal access to treatment.

The survey also indicated that increased prevalence of HIV in 2012 was largely due to the combined effects of new infections and a successfully expanded antiretroviral treatment (ART) programme which had dramatically increased survival among HIV-infected individuals.

Yet living longer with a chronic disease such as HIV can take its toll, with many people failing to realise that being able to live longer means they still need to plan for their future, however long that may be.

Read more:

More Aids life insurance on offer
More funding for HIV/Aids programmes


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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