Through the Looking Class

Topics: AIDS, HIV, Africa Pages: 5 (1691 words) Published: December 9, 2012
Jenna Palermo
ENG 101
Essay Number 3

AIDS is a significant issue in Africa. Without the support and involvement of the US, the issue will continue to grow and social and economic issues will continue to impact not only the US, but countries worldwide. AIDS, first discovered in 1981, has quickly become a fast-spreading worldwide disease and is the number one cause of death in Africa since 1999. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) occurs when a person's immune system is so depleted that they develop unusual infections from bacteria and viruses that normally don't affect people with functional immune systems. 38.2 million people are currently living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Outside the US, AIDS has become widespread, specifically throughout Africa, with 3.4 million new infections and 2.3 million deaths in 2001. Men, women and children are dying from this disease throughout Africa, South Africa being the most infected with 5.7 million. AIDS is the leading cause of death in Africa.

The cause of AIDS is the human immunodeficiency virus, (HIV). The cause of AIDS includes the spread of the HIV virus through sexual intercourse, contaminated needles, or blood transfusion. Another cause of AIDS is through the transmission of the HIV virus through breast milk, or accidental inoculation from patient to a health care worker. AIDS is most commonly transmitted through sexual contact. In some African populations multiple sexual partners are expected. Due to volume of infected people and sexual contact the issue continues to grow. This is a big issue in Africa because African nations do not recognize the problem. The nation doesn’t have enough money to pay for the disease and fight it. Mostly importantly testing is not available.

AIDS has many severe social and economic consequences in Africa, and these negative effects are expected to continue for many years. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most commonly effected area, while other regions in Africa will eventually face a demographic catastrophe as HIV/AIDS and associated diseases that will reduce human life expectancy dramatically and kill up to a quarter of their populations over a period of time (Global Infectious Disease). As a result of AIDS, the estimate predicted increased political instability and slower democratic development. Labor productivity is likely to drop, the benefits of education will be lost, and resources that would have been used for investments will be used for health care, orphan care, and funerals (Intensifying Action). With the numerous deaths associated with the AIDS virus, the loss of human capital will affect production and the quality of life. From an economic standpoint, some have argued that AIDS is unlikely to inflict severe damage on national economies because those infected are, in their great majority, the poor and unskilled, who contribute little in pure economic terms. This view ignores not only the human dimension, but also the broader social and economic aspects of development. It likewise ignores the existing evidence of the many horrific ways in which AIDS already is harming key sectors in those countries most seriously affected (UN News). The economic effects of AIDS will be felt first by individuals and their families, then ripple outwards to firms and businesses and the overall economy (The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Planning Issues).

AIDS has a tremendous social effect throughout family life in Africa. According to many reports, AIDS has had devastating effects on rural families. The father is typically the first to fall ill, and when it occurs, farm tools and animals may be sold to pay for his care. If the mother also becomes ill, children will be forced to shoulder the responsibility for full time care. The food and agriculture organization of the United Nations reports that since this disease began, seven million agricultural workers have been killed in Africa (Rural Livelihoods). AIDS may have serious security...
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