AIDS in Kenya
Kenya lies across the equator in east-central Africa on the coast of the Indian Ocean. It is twice the size of Nevada. Kenya borders Somalia to the east, Ethiopia to the north, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, and Sudan to the northwest. In the north, the land is arid; the southwestern corner is in the fertile Lake Victoria Basin; and a length of the eastern depression of the Great Rift Valley separates western highlands form those that rise from the lowland coastal strip (www.aidsandafrica.com). The population of Kenya broken down is Men: 900,000 Women: 1.1 million. There are two million adults and the percentage of those adults infected is nearly 14% (Yamano, 2005). Work-related mobility often creates an imbalance in the gender ratio proportion of women to men. This creates the environment which sex partner sharing is normal. Examples of this would be a man having more than one wife. At truck stops the women sex workers outnumber the vendors and drink shop owners which are positions held by men. In mining camps the very opposite is true where men greatly outnumber the women. In both situations same sex partner sharing allows the virus to flourish (Yamano, 2005). There are diverse cultural rules in Kenya, given the presence of 40 indigenous cultures and ethnic groups (ww.aidsandafrica.com). These groups have different languages and social structures as well as differing cultural beliefs and practices. Some of these practices, such as wide inheritance, taking the wife of a diseased relative to be their own and polygamy conflict with HIV prevention. In most of these communities, men decide on issues of economic productivity such as land, capital, and technology. Since men have more education and economic power than women cultural beliefs also favor men allowing them to make decisions that may not favor a women’s well being. Since women are lower ranked socially when they are divorced or separated, they are driven into commercial prostitution work due to necessity to survive. Also some parents disown daughters who become pregnant; these girls flee to the nearest town and do the only thing they know how to do for a paycheck, prostitution (Bell, 2006). Several studies have shown the impact of the AIDS epidemic in Kenya focusing on economics, health education and the development of the population size. Macroeconomic studies in the 1990’s (Bloom and Mahal, 1997) suggest that the effects of AIDS epidemics on the economies of Sub-Saharan African countries are small. Although small, there is a chance of collapse in the economy in the absence of government aid. These studies conclude by recommending measures aimed at mitigating the effects of the disease and emphasize the importance of governmental commitment to addressing HIV-related problems, and treating the disease as a “national priority” (Bloom and Mahal, 1997). Kenya is in a state of turmoil as Aids plagues the nation. AIDS does not bring about a catastrophic economic collapse, but it does inflict large economic costs – and very many deaths. Kenya has more than one million people estimated to be living with AIDS (1.2 million as of the end of 2003), (Young, 2005). The AIDS epidemic poses significant challenges because Kenya is a low income country. The Government of Kenya established a National AIDS Control Council (NACC) in 1999, and has a National Strategic Framework for HIV/AIDS for 2005-2010. In order to reform the problem of AIDS with Kenya, Kenyan political officials need to educate the people in Kenya about homosexuality, sexual protection and education for the youth in Kenya so they may understand the dangers and risks of AIDS. According to Lauren Bridges, a North Carolina State University Graduate who spent a year in Kenya for the reformation movement, AIDS in Kenya is so prevalent it will take decades to make improvements in the society. Labor supply of adult AIDS...
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