AIDS In Africa
HIV-AIDS has infected over thirty million people in the world. Over 95% of all AIDS cases in the world are in Africa and in some of those countries over 40% of the people are infected (Frederickson and Kanabus HIV and AIDS in Africa 1). AIDS does not solely affect homosexuals, or any certain ethnicity of people, either; HIV-AIDS can affect any type of ethnicity including African Americans, Caucasians, Asians, Indians, and Hispanic people. AIDS cannot be reversed or cured, but with proper treatment this deadly virus can be controlled and people can live a nearly normal life. In Africa, though, proper treatment is not nearly as available as it is in some other countries. Approximately 2.3 million people died in 2003 in Sub-Saharan Africa alone and that is only the beginning (Frederickson and Kanabus HIV 1). Because of AIDS and its devastating effects and increasing infection rates in Africa, organizations and governments are increasing their efforts to stop this disease. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on AIDS efforts, but still the disease continues to spread and take thousands of people's lives each year.
In 1992, 20% of Botswana, Africa was infected with HIV-AIDS. In 1995, 1/3 of the country was infected. Today over 40% of Botswana is infected with HIV-AIDS, and these numbers continue to increase (Epstlen 70). The rest of Africa is mimicking these same numbers as infection rates continue to rise. Of the 27 million infected in Africa, 3.2 million were new cases diagnosed in 2003, and over 2.3 million people died in Africa because of HIV-AIDS last year (Frederickson and Kanabus HIV 1). Such numbers are astronomical compared to the rest of the world. In the United States less than 1% of the population is infected; in Russia and India the numbers also match the United States. In Thailand, where it is claimed to be more corrupted in sex and drug trades and have even fewer anti-AIDS efforts than in Africa, the infection rates are still less than 2% (Frederickson HIV 70). Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst region to be infected with AIDS. While countries like Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho and Zimbabwe all have infection rates reaching near 40%, West African countries barely top 10% in some places (Frederickson 2). In Sub-Saharan Africa, 11 million children have been orphaned by AIDS (Frederickson AIDS orphans in Africa 1). Of the 27 million people infected, 10 million are between the ages of 15 and 24, and 3 million are estimated to be under the age of 15 (Frederickson HIV 1). In Francistown, Botswana, nearly half of all pregnant women in the main hospital tested positive for HIV. These pregnant women will give birth to children who will have as much as a 90% chance of contracting the virus from their mother (Epstlen 70).
The high rates of infection come despite efforts in many communities to conquer the HIV epidemic through educational programs, condom distribution and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. Sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and syphilis create ulcers and genital sores that make it easier for the HIV virus to spread. In most places, these efforts have had little effect and have forced AIDS experts to reconsider old theories they had about how HIV spreads in Africa. Most HIV-positive Africans are believed to be injecting drug users and prostitutes, but they claim to have never used drugs before and also claim not to have had multiple sexual partners. Some scientists have theories based upon HIV infection rates compared to nutrition, and others fall back on the theory that people in Africa simply have more sexual partners than people elsewhere. Some studies show that Africans have more than one sexual partner, but it is not enough to clearly explain the number of infections. Some places in Africa, like Zimbabwe, where thirty-three percent of adults are HIV-Positive, most people had one to three sexual partners within a year. Most assume that prostitutes could...
Cited: Barnett, Tony and Alan Whiteside. Aids In the Twenty-First Century. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.
Mann, Johnathon and Daniel Tarantold. Aids in the World II. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1996: 252.
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