AIDS/HIV (auto-immunodeficiency syndrome) is quickly becoming the worst disease the world has ever seen, pulling in numbers of death tolls that exceed those of the bubonic plague. "By 2010 its death toll will be higher than that of the two world wars combined, and it will soon be worse than the total claimed by all wars put together," (Hunter 7). HIV is the virus that causes AIDS; symptoms only become apparent after the virus lies quietly within the infected person for seven to ten years and most HIV-positive people feel so healthy during this period they do not get tested. This leads to easy passing of the virus, with the infected person having no idea what they are doing.
There are five ways in which HIV can be contracted (Hunter 9); ordinary heterosexual intercourse is the most common of the ways. Bisexual or homosexual intercourse and injecting drug use are also very popular ways. The fourth way is transmission from mother to child in utero and during birth, as well as breast feeding. The final way that this disease is usually contracted is through infected blood transfusions that would be used to help hemophiliacs or a case of extreme loss of blood.
Two of the major driving forces in the spread of HIV/AIDS are poverty and labor migration. These are issues that have no sexual bias, but nevertheless lead people into behavior or circumstances that place them at risk for infection of HIV. The following table gives the figures for the estimated number of adults and children living with AIDS at the end of 2003 in South Africa:
(United Nations South Africa Fact Sheet 2)
This essay will take a look at this incredibly dangerous epidemic particularly in South Africa and will answer the following questions: Why is South Africa so heavily plagued with this disease as opposed to other areas of the world and why has the government been largely unsuccessful in its attempts to deter the spread of the virus? What areas does the South... [continues]
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