Hiv/Aids in Africa

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Sub-Saharan Africa is the region of the world that is most affected by HIV/AIDS. The United Nations reports that an estimated 25.4 million people are living with HIV and that approximately 3.1 million new infections occurred in 2004. To put these figures in context, more than 60 percent of the people living with the infection reside in Africa. Even these staggering figures do not quite capture the true extent and impact that this disease causes on the continent. In 1998, about 200,000 Africans died as a result of various wars taking place on the continent. In that same year, more than 2 million succumbed to HIV/AIDS (Botchwey, 2000). The pandemic can be likened very much to the Bubonic Plague of the fourteenth century in terms of its killing ability. Both the Black Death and HIV/AIDS have wiped out a large proportion of the affected population. Until the AIDS pandemic, the world had not experienced a mass shrinking in their populations since the Black Death. However, unlike the Black Death, the pandemic has become much more than a health problem as it encompasses economic, social, political, psychological and cultural dimensions. (Arndt and Lewis, 2000) HIV/AIDS is so severe that it sends ripples to the edges of society, spreading its effects on families through communities to countries as a whole. Due to the fact that the pandemic is widespread in young and middle-aged adults the epidemic destroys the very core and nucleus of society as well as the foundation of the nation’s economy. The pandemic is not a disease for adults only as in 2005 alone, an estimated 2.3 million children globally were living with HIV (UNAIDS 2005). Hence, HIV/AIDS rids the continent of what is arguably its most important resource; human capital. This is especially true in locations exposed to rampant HIV prevalence rates. In such regions, the economic growth of the country is affected which makes the provision of highly needed social services more difficult. We realize that countries...
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