The HIV/AIDS epidemic poses a severe threat to the economies of developing countries, and those on the African continent in particular. South Africa, which is being affected fundamentally by the epidemic, is no exception. By the end of 1997, an estimated 2.8 million adults in South Africa were living with HIV/AIDS. By 2001, this figure had increased to 4.7 million. The estimated prevalence of HIV/AIDS among the country's adult population (20.1 per cent) is amongst the highest in the world (ILO, 2000; UNAIDS, 2002). According to the Metropolitan-Doyle model, the annual number of AIDS deaths is estimated to increase from 120 000 to between 545 000 and 635 000 between 2000 and 2010. The number of children younger than fifteen years orphaned by AIDS has been estimated to be 800 000 by 2005, rising to more than 1.95 million by 2010 (Abt Associates, 2000:8-11).