Aids in Africa Essay 14

Topics: Africa, HIV, South Africa Pages: 10 (3733 words) Published: April 25, 2010
Nicole Nickerson
African Politics

Aids in Africa

AIDS is an unfortunate and deadly disease that affects the body which is caused by HIV. The body will try to fight off the disease but as time goes on the body will start to shut down will not be able to fight off things such as bacteria and viruses. Over 58 million people have been infected by this disease and over 22 million have died from AIDS. The epidemic spreads each and everyday, the death toll of this epidemic can not be foreseen until there is a full wave form that is seen. Africa is one of the most known continents for the AIDS epidemic. It has affected most of the countries since the late 70’s early 80’s. The WHO estimates that 12 million HIV-positive Africans are merely the tip of an iceberg; it also reports, however, that the epidemic has thus far produced only 331,000 cases of AIDS from 1981 to July 1994 (Geshekter, 5). According to the WHO estimate this shows that the 99.95 percent of the people in Africa do not have AIDS, but 97 percent of those who have HIV were not yet proven to have developed AIDS. During the initial stages of the epidemic in the 1980s, the disease was concentrated in the so-called AIDS belt in Central Africa which encompassed the then Zaire, Kenya, Zambia, and Uganda (Agyei-Mensah, 442). In the 1990s, the disease began to spread southward to include Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and westward to Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Liberia, and Ghana (Agyei-Mensah, 442). It is now 2009 and there are countries that may not exist anymore due to the AIDS epidemic. AIDS in Africa has been one of the biggest issues facing African politics since the early 90s. Numerous studies into the AIDS epidemic in Africa have been conducted by Western medical and governmental organizations, as well as African medical and governmental organizations. The inherent difficulties facing the problem of Aids in Africa include unstable or ineffective African governments, poor or non-existent economies that are further hampered by the effects of aids, and cultural differences that create bias both in the reporting of the number of cases of aids and the symptomatic presentation of HIV/AIDS cases. These problems make it very difficult to combat a disease that has taken the lives of many millions of people.

South Africa has a stable government but their policies on AIDS have been ineffective. In 1994 the country was criticized for prevarication and confusion on the policies that they set forth to help AIDS patience’s. The government was being blamed for misjudgment, inadequate analysis, and bureaucratic failure. The country had set up two different prescription policies to fight AIDS which were mobilization/biomedical and nationalist/ameliorative paradigm. Mobilization/biomedical would emphasized society-wide mobilization, political will, and anti-retroviral treatment, while the nationalist/ameliorative focused on poverty, individual responsibility, palliative care, traditional medicine, and appropriate care (Butler, 592). There were problems with both paradigms because of they were underpinned by different assumptions that the government needed to respond to appropriately.

The AIDS policy of 1994-2004 in South Africa was brought forth by the African National Congress, the ANC-aligned United Democratic Front and the National Party government’s ministry of health to bring together a policy to fight AIDS. At the end of 1993 there were over 2,000 cases of AIDS and 500,000 people with HIV; the government had predicted that by 2000 there would be four to seven million cases of HIV with about 60 percent of death rates due to AIDS (Butler, 593). The policy was endorsed by the incoming minister Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma who was insufficiently informed by the institutional and social realities of South Africa (Butler, 593). The policy was overestimated just as all other policies were during this time of the...

Cited: Butler, Anthony, ‘South Africa’s HIV/AIDS Policy, 1994-2004: How Can it be
Explained?’ African Affairs 104, (2005)
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