The Effects of Aids on Sub-Saharan African Communities

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The Effects of AIDS on Sub-Saharan African Communities

“Two-thirds of all people infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa, although this region contains little more than 10% of the world’s population” ("The impact of HIV & AIDS on Africa", 2010, para. 1). “During 2008 alone, an estimated 1.4 million adults and children died as a result of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa…[that is] more than 15 million Africans [who] have died from AIDS…since the beginning of the epidemic”("The impact of HIV & AIDS on Africa", 2010, para. 1). The impact that HIV/AIDS has had on this region is astounding and caused widespread human suffering. “The most obvious effect of this crisis has been illness and death, but the impact of the epidemic has certainly not been confined to the health sector; households, schools, workplaces and economies have also been badly affected” ("The impact of HIV & AIDS on Africa", 2010, para. 1). Most of these sub-Saharan countries are still in the developing stages in terms of their economies; the damage that the epidemic has done to the economy seems irreversible. “The economies of the worst affected countries were already struggling with development challenges, debt and declining trade before the epidemic started to affect the continent…AIDS has combined with these factors to further aggravate the situation” ("The impact of HIV & AIDS on Africa", 2010, para. 17). Through this paper I will describe the macroeconomic impact of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, comment on the sources of economic growth and the use of scarce resources, and comment on growth and equity in relation to resolving the issue of reducing inequality in the distribution of income. “By 2006…the HIV/AIDS pandemic had infected more than 40 million worldwide and up to 40 percent of the adult populations of some African countries, such as Botswana” (Case, Fair, & Oster, 2009, p. 443). “AIDS has reversed gains in life expectancy and improvements in child mortality in many [African] countries” (Haacker, 2004, p. 1). This is “erasing decades of progress in extending life expectancy” ("The impact of HIV & AIDS on Africa", 2010, para. 15). “In the worst affected countries, average life expectancy has fallen by twenty years because of the epidemic” ("The impact of HIV & AIDS on Africa", 2010, para. 15). “AIDS is the leading cause of death in adults [within this region]” (Haacker, 2004, p. 1). Because so many adults are afflicted with the disease, there is a decline in living standards due to loss of income and the high cost of caring for a sick family member (Haacker, 2004). “In many cases, the presence of AIDS causes the household to dissolve, as parents die and children are sent to relatives for care and upbringing” ("The impact of HIV & AIDS on Africa", 2010, para. 3). “In Botswana it is estimated that, on average, every income earner is likely to acquire one additional dependent over the next ten years due to the AIDS epidemic…A dramatic increase in destitute households – those with no income earners – is also expected” ("The impact of HIV & AIDS on Africa", 2010, para. 5). This type of situation would have serious repercussions for any family. Families may do without basic necessities such as clothing, electricity, and food ("The impact of HIV & AIDS on Africa", 2010). “Children may be forced to abandon their education and in some cases women may be forced to turn to sex work …[which] can lead to a higher risk of HIV transmission, which [in turn] further exacerbates the situation” ("The impact of HIV & AIDS on Africa", 2010, para. 5). Once a family loses its income, “three main coping strategies appear to be adopted…Savings are used up or assets sold; assistance is received from other households; and the composition of households tends to change, with fewer adults of prime working age in the households” ("The impact of HIV & AIDS on Africa", 2010, para. 9). AVERT, an HIV/AIDS charity, states:...
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