Within the last thirty years, it has become well recognized that HIV/AIDS is a serious disease that takes many lives every year. However, we may not be getting the full story. What people don't realize is the extreme social and economic effects that result from the spread of HIV in Africa. This should be a serious concern of every person of every country, not only because of the massive loss of life, but because of the danger posed by such a powerful disease that doesn’t stop at the borders. Through the articles I have evaluated, I have come to a reasonable understanding of the suffering of those in Africa. My hope is to show the severity of the social effects like being shunned by friends and the economic devastation that truly results from AIDS in Africa, a place where over 18% of people suffer from it.
The goal and intent of my topic is to show that AIDS in Africa is not just killing people. It is creating a massive sinkhole in the economy by lowering the size of the workforce, stealing a large portion of family budgets that would otherwise contribute to the economy to pay for medication, and forcing women into prostitution to afford basic necessities. AIDS is also a plague on many social facets of Africa. It is the primary cause of great mistrust in relationships between married couples, it diminishes relationships between married women and other women who they mistrust, it leaves many children orphans, it is straining the bonds of family networks, and it is draining the resources and savings of families trying to save loved ones.
As a requirement of discussing HIV/AIDS, it must first be established what exactly HIV/AIDS is. AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a fully lethal disease affecting approximately eighteen percent of adults and two percent of children under eighteen. HIV is an infection that weakens the immune system, and while it is not necessarily true that you have AIDS if you have HIV, AIDS is still central to the topic. “AIDS has been especially severe in Africa … with approximately 2.1 million deaths in 2006 alone.” (Stockemer, 2007) This was just in 2006, and this number has grown exponentially since then. In addition, pregnant women who have AIDS have around a thirty percent chance of giving AIDS to their children within the first year after birth (transmitted via any of the maternal fluids). Though there are some programs that help lower this rate, but research done by S. Jones indicated that there are issues with the current programs “at the clinic over a 24 month period from October 2001 to September 2003, 49% missed a first follow-up visit at two weeks of age. By the scheduled 12-month visit, a staggering 82% did not attend.” (Jones, 2005) The issue with return rates was linked primarily to insubstantial income. When transportation was funded and telephone call reminders were made, the failure-to-return rate dropped by a significant amount. The programs themselves were using highly active anti retro-viral therapy “between 27% and 61% of children who require HAART are currently on treatment.” (Marias, 2008) The medicine itself is considered successful, just expensive.
AIDS is not a new disease that just popped up, but it has in the last fifteen to twenty years been recognized as a truly horrific and deadly disease. Considering how quickly it is spreading, and the lack of understanding of methods of protection in places like Africa, it is certainly worth being concerned over.
Poverty's relationship to this quickly became evident in the research articles sourced. Poverty often raises the amount of prostitution in a state, as individuals (mainly women) are forced into commercial sex work as a means of survival. This aids the growth of an industry contributing significantly to the spread of HIV. (Stockemer, 2007) While Africa is not the only place that has issues with prostitution, the fact that the people there are in such...