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Hiv/Aids: the Impacts on the Business Sector and Household and Co...

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Hiv/Aids: the Impacts on the Business Sector and Household and Coping Strategies

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  • March 18, 2011
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HIV/AIDS: THE IMPACTS ON THE BUSINESS SECTOR AND HOUSEHOLD AND COPING STRATEGIES

CHAPTER 1: IMPACT OF HIV/AIDS ON THE BUSINESS SECTOR

Introduction
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). In order for the virus to attack a person's immune system, it has to enter the bloodstream, and there are three ways in which this may occur: 1.Through sexual intercourse - this includes both heterosexual and homosexual intercourse, although most infections in the developing world are transmitted heterosexually. 2.Directly into the bloodstream through use of contaminated blood or blood products, or sharing of intravenous drug-injecting equipment. 3.From mother to child - it is estimated that about one third of infants born to infected mothers will be infected. This may occur prior to birth across the placenta, during birth, or via breast milk. The possible responses to the epidemic are well documented. Risk of sexual transmission can be reduced by use of condoms and/or cutting down on numbers of partners and treating other sexually transmitted infections. Blood and blood products can be made safer through screening of donors and their blood. Drug users can be encouraged to sterilize or refrain from exchanging needles. Work on developing means of reducing mother to child infection is underway. One of the crucial points that have to be made about the HIV/AIDS epidemic is that it is different from most other epidemics and diseases, and consequently requires a different and much broader response - one which must encompass far more than the health sector. The factors that make it unique are: •It is a new epidemic. AIDS was first recognized as a specific condition only in 1981 and it was not until 1984 that the cause (and a test to detect it) was identified. •It has a long incubation period. Persons who are infected by the virus may have many years of productive normal life, although they can infect others during...