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In the early 2000’s, the reported growth in the rate of HIV infection in South Africa, coupled with the lack of treatment available from the public sector (and exacerbated by the costs and doubtful efficacy of privately administered treatment), resulted in significant debate opening between the Life Officers Association and the Banking Council. In the public domain, banks and assurance companies were stridently accused of bias toward the lower-income market, based on the perception that this sector was more susceptible to HIV infection. Unfortunately, at the time there was a basis for such accusation as studies had indicated that, based on the then current inception statistics, this was indeed the case, and lenders were becoming increasingly aware of the potential of downstream credit risk based on a medical condition.

Historically this posed a problem for people who were HIV+. Against this background, in the early part of 2001, the HLGC investigated the feasibility of managing its HIV/AIDS risk through treatment.

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Certain core principles were set 
out at the outset, and have been extended since:

  • As advances to medical science were reaching a stage whereby life expectancy, and in fact illness control, was enhanced, more treatment access was required. Apart from the social aspects of assisting members of the population to remain employed, improved, or at the least sustained, health would protect the default rate on the loans,

  • Treatment remained expensive, and beyond the affordability of the absolute majority of the HLGC market. A mechanism had to be developed whereby appropriate treatment would be available to all those who required it,

  • The funding of treatment costs had to be structured in such a way as to ensure that there was a sustainable, and to the extent possible, determinable income stream available for the payment of treatment requirements,

  • A clear separation of the insurance operations of HLGC and the treatment payment organisation needed to be established.

  • To this end, Housing for HIV NPC was established to manage the HLGC’s HIV and AIDS risk, and it created the Health for Housing programme.