Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Integrated Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

David W. Buckalew. Ph.D.

Second Advisor

John B. Strait, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kenneth N. Townsend, Ph.D.


Utilizing empirical data from studies conducted mainly by international organizations, such as the UNAIDS and the Food and Agriculture Organization , the thesis aims to strengthen the hypothesis that the higher the frequency of HIVIAIDS, mainly in rural African farm communities, the higher the impact there is on food production. Moreover, the supply, demand, and wages of farm labor are also affected by HIV/AIDS. To give a background of the conditions of disease, the first part of the thesis gives an overview of the history of disease. The history and possible origins of HIV/AIDS are delved into, after which HIV/AIDS is examined as a health issue. Statistics of the gravity of HIVIAIDS follows and later the elaboration on how HIVIAIDS has transgressed the borders of the health sector is illustrated. The pandemic is affecting the business, education, military, and agricultural sectors now. An overview of the African continent and the reasons for the spread of HIVIAIDS in Africa follows. What proceeds is an explanation of how food production is indirectly affected by HIVIAIDS by the increased morbidity and mortality of the agricultural labor force. When the working age cohort (15-49) is hard-hit by the pandemic , food production is affected due to: A decrease in the area of land cultivated, a reduction in crop yield, a decline in the range of crops grown, a decline in livestock production, loss of agricultural knowledge and management skills, a dramatic rise in expenditures, and an increase in widows. Lastly, the thesis illustrates how conditions created by HIV/AIDS may alter the conventional interpretation of the microeconomic theory on the labor market. Conditions created by the prolonged impact of HIVIAIDS may cause a decrease in labor wages (instead of an increase) as labor force decreases due to high morbidity and mortality of farm labor.



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