Aids In Africa Essay, Research Paper
A Brief History Of AID S
Throughout time there have been many things that have hurt the human race
severely. Natural disasters, cancer, famine, and many other dreadful problems.
However, what has and still is harming the entire human race the most, is the AIDS virus.
The fact that it can spread so quickly and can not be detected very easily is why this is
such an issue. One of the places that this virus has hit the hardest is on the continent of
Africa. Africa is so poor, and was so unprepared for this disease, the death rate from this
disease is at an all time high.
The AIDS virus, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, is a fatal disease
that has is believed to have come from Africa. It was first diagnosed in Africa and the
United States in the early 1970 s. The slow forming part of the disease, called HIV, or
Human Immunodeficiency Virus, spread across the globe throughout the 1980 s.
Another place that the virus was identified was in the United States and France among
homosexuals. The patterns and different ways that this disease can spread have changed
over the last 25 years and is becoming a larger threat every day. (1.)
The actual disease HIV, causes immune system damage. It is spread from blood
to blood, sexual intercourse, bodily fluids, and from mother to child. About seventy
percent of AIDS has been transmitted from sexual intercourse when people do not use
condoms. Two other ways in that the AIDS virus is transmitted is between syringes, and
also from unscreened blood transfusions. Some cases have also shown that breast milk
has also been infected with the AIDS virus and can be directly passed from mother to
child. Some of the places that the AIDS virus can be found devastating is in third world
countries. Countries with poor economies and infrastructures can not handle the burden
of this new and deadly disease. Along with AIDS comes a laundry list of new and very
important precautions and new expenditures that must be taken care of in order to
combat the virus.
Current Events Of The AID S Virus In Africa
Today s Africa is the most infected place on the planted. The AID S virus has
taken its toll here, and Africa is still feeling its wrath. Out of every ten people, one
person has AID S in southern Africa. The AID S virus has become more and more
dominant in Africa in the past few years for a few reasons. The main reason that the
virus is doing so well and keeps on prospering is because of the promiscuity and
ignorance of people in Africa. The African people are not well educated in safe sex, and
will never be unless there is more available information. Another key factor in the
spreading of the AID S virus in Africa is poverty and the inability to buy new virus
Recently, the United States has joined the AID S prevention team with Africa.
On July 20, 2000, the United States offered about $ 1 billion dollars to sub-Saharan
Africa. This money may be used to buy AID S related drugs and other materials from
United States firms. Today, about 300 million dollars a year is being spent to help fight
and prevent the AID S virus. In recent United Nation studies it is shown that about 3
billion dollars a year is needed to make any sort of positive impact. (3.)
Africa continues to dwarf the rest of the world on the AIDS balance sheet.
(7.)-Meaning that because Africa has so many people with AIDS, it makes all other
countries look as if they are much better off than they really are. According to many
sources like UNAIDS and WHO, which are national AIDS prevention groups, more than
7 out of 10 newly affected people in 1998 live in Africa. Children under the age of 15
make up most of these new statistics because they are born with the virus. Since the
epidemic has started, more than 83% of the causalities have taken place in sub-Saharan
Africa and only one-tenth of the worlds population lives in Africa south of the Sahara.
The raw numbers of people infected with the AIDS virus in Africa is astounding.
Since the very beginning of the virus, about 34 million people in Africa have been
infected with the virus. An estimated 11.5 million have already died and about
one-fourth of them have been children. At the end of 1998 the AIDS virus was
responsible for about two million funerals in Africa.
Today the Legislation Summary from the 106th congress, a new founded congress
that focus on finding cures and helping the check mate like posistion of Africa dealing
with the AIDS virus. The overall rate of infection of the continent of Africa is about
8.8% while there is a 1.1% infection rate in every other country.
In a report by the groups UNAIDS, and the United Nations, the HIV virus in the
region of sub-Saharan Africa, has more than 10% of the worlds population, and more
than 70% of the worlds infected people. The group UNAIDS predicts that more than half
of all 15 year olds will most likely die in the next few years. The only way to make these
predictions false is if the risk of becoming infected by the disease is reduced. Some of
the countries where this could take place are ones such as Zambia, South Africa, and
Botswana. These are the countries that are at the highest infection rate. (2.)
In sub-Saharan Africa, the rate of infection of women is greater than men.
Though most of the disease is spread through heterosexual contact, today in urban areas
intravenous drug use is becoming more popular so the spread of the disease by needles is
also on the rise. According to the statistics taken by UNAIDS in 1999 about 53% of the
women in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with the AIDS virus. The risk that young
women have in contracting the disease is much greater than women in there elder years.
A study found that women between the ages of 15-19 are infected at the rate of 15%-25%
while the infection rate for boys the same age is 3%-4%. The risk of contracting AIDS is
on the rise. In 1999 there were 2 million deaths, and in the year 2000 there were 2.4
million deaths, so it is quite obvious that the mortality rate is rising. (5.)
Most experts believe that the main reason that the AIDS virus has taken root so
easily and is not being moved is because of the widespread poverty in Africa. The health
facilities in Africa are not equipped with any real technology and are not exceptionally
sanitary. There is no real procedures in African health facilities that can diagnose, treat,
or prevent the AIDS virus.
Many women in Africa have become commercial sex workers, also known as
prostitutes, a profession which increases their chances of infection. Because of the AIDS
virus, many of Africa s teachers and other skilled workers are dying. This is depriving
the children of Africa of any sort of future.
The estimated number of African AIDS orphans is rising to about 6.5 million.
These AIDS orphans face the problems of malnutrition, finding some sort of education,
and just fighting to stay alive without any parents or relatives. AIDS orphans are
expected to rise to a number of about 15 million by the year 2010. A total of about 12.1
million African sub-Saharan children have lost either their mother, father, or both due to
the AIDS virus dubbing them the AIDS orphans. (8.)
- A graph illustrating the mother child transmission of HIV.
Effects of AIDS/HIV On The South African Economy
In the last year, African president, Thabo Mbeki, was confronted by a congress of
South African Trade Unions. What was challenged was his strategy to combat Aids, and
his economic game plan for the future while keeping AIDS and its threat in mind.
Mbeki s present economic plans so far have failed to hit any of its target areas. Some of
his plans included boosting growth by lowering inflation, interest rates, and deficit
spending. Instead of these promised plans, Africa has suffered massive job losses, a
stunted economic trend, and descending industries.
The other part of the economy of Africa that is being affected by AIDS is the
Gross Domestic Product. As of right now, 2% of the spending for some sort of combat or
vaccine for AIDS has already exceeded the GDP. In the future it is expected to be at
17% in the year 2010. Another drawback of this disease in Africa is that it will take
about 20 billion dollars out of the United States economy. In Botswana Africa, about
20% will be taken from the government budget, and the people who are most poor in
Botswana will loose about 13% of their already low earnings. (12.)
In Africa, at least 85% of its population survives on less than one dollar a
day. This evidence suggests that Africa was better off 35 or 40 years ago when it gained
its independence. In those countries of the sub-Saharan Africa, who are being affected
the most by the AIDS virus, they will loose about 15-20% of their national wealth.
Other problems that are harming Africa within the boundaries of the economy all
come from the fact that Africa is not in any posistion to make commercial agreements
with countries to help with the battle against AIDS. Africa for the last twenty years has
been more interested in paying off debts rather than health care. Debt repayments and no
social health care is sub-Saharan Africa s target right now. Africa is the most in-debt
country in the world, and will continue to be if they do not put forth more effort to
prevent, diagnose, and treat AIDS.
An important problem that are plaguing Africa because of the AIDS virus is the
amount of laborers that are dying each day. The continent of Africa contains 71% of the
worlds entire AIDS population. Seventy-one percent of the population in Africa has
AIDS/HIV, this means that eventually about 50-65% of these people will die. This is
what is going to be the hardest on the economy because of the fact that about 30% of
these people do have jobs are almost un-replacable. The reason that they are almost
un-replacable is because so many Africans are not skilled at anything. The percentage of
Africans that are skilled laborers and/or workers is about 25-40%. So, the African labor
industry in the near future is going to be hit hard with severe job losses. (6.)
The entire continent of Africa now realizes that AIDS is a economic as well as a
social problem as well. The economic consequences are not merely limited to a
reduction in public health budgets but affects the whole economic sphere because it
directly threatens those who are in the productive age group. A weakened economy
contributes to the health status of the population. Aids makes impacts on a few
different levels of the economy which include: 1.) Reduced savings and investments. 2.)
Lost production 3.) Lost labor 4.) High health care costs 5.) Reduced returns on
investments in health and education.
The reason that AIDS will affect the savings and investments is because it will
make things move from savings and investments to health care. It will lower the
domestic capitol formation, which in turn will make the economic growth in the future
stunted. AIDS looses labor and production because when a skilled worker or laborer is
ill during his prime working years, all of his earnings are lost to the economy. When
AIDS investments move from education to health care, the economy will suffer many
negative end products. The other economic consequences are noticeable at agricultural,
household, and company levels.
In the long run, AIDS will hit the poor the hardest. Richer people will be
more receptive to education campaigns through the mass media, will be more prone to
purchase condoms, and more likely to live in environments that encourage condom use.
AIDS will worsen the poverty of the poor by depriving them of their only productive
resource: their labor. With their poor health status, inability to buy condoms, and lack
of access to information campaigns, AIDS looks like it will kill many before its tenure in
Africa is over. (9.)
Is There A Cure For The AIDS Virus In Africa?
The final answer to the question as to whether or not there is a cure to the
AIDS/HIV epidemic that is running rampant through Africa is NO. There is no proven
cure the AIDS virus, or to HIV. Doctors and scientists have made very little leighway in
the area of these two virus . These two sickness are always changing and move too fast
for scientists to make any sort of cure for it. It has too many different angles that need to
be approached in order for a cure to be devised. However, there have been a few
breakthroughs in which slow down the virus . One of these new break throughs is called
Bactrim has been proven to reduce the secondary infections of AIDS. A cost of
about eight dollars a year is what this three drug cocktail would cost. This amount is
quite small compared to the millions of dollars per year that is spent on a cure for AIDS.
The African government and health care officials should see this new drug as a blessing.
It is not a cure but it is a preventative drug which may help make many African lives
longer. This is almost a dream come true because now, the laborers can work more, and
the economy may not be destroyed. However, this new drug has not been tested in
Africa, rather, only in the United States.
This new drug does not help the immune system in anyway, nor does any of the
new medications that are made to help make lives longer. It is inevitable that AIDS
victims will die of some sort of intricacy from the AIDS virus. These new drugs will
only prolong these poor victims death sentences for either weeks, months, or possibly
years. Africa has the most health care needs of any other continent in the world. These
new drugs will ease the pain of many, but it does not mean that the long hard search for a
cure should cease. Until that is found, the battle will continue on the AIDS virus in
The Final Answer
African and sub-Saharan Africa are in dire need of answers to their new and
common enemy: AIDS. AIDS will most likely ravage through Africa killing millions
more before any real cure is found. The most important thing that Africans can do is
plain and simple, become more educated. The United States, and other nations can only
do so much in order to help Africa. (7.)
Another important factor of this horrible plague that is sweeping Africa is that it
must be dealt with head on. There can be no more denial about the AIDS virus because
it is quite evident that it is there and it is not going anywhere soon. In a country where
1,700 people contract AIDS/HIV each day, it is obvious that something has to be done.
There are two simple answers that can help stop some of the spread of AIDS/HIV. The
two most important ways that it can be stifened are by using condoms, and becoming
Even though the entire African situation seems as if there is no hope and no end is
in sight, there are things that can be done to help. Finally, the African government has
turned around and began to recognize the presence of the AIDS virus. Some of the things
that have been done include a $80 million dollar campaign and fund raising opportunity
formed by former president Nelson Mandela. Some of the aspects of this newly formed
campaign will include education, condoms, and fund raising and monetary distribution.
The South African president, Thabo Mbeki, in the past has turned his back on his
country, however, recently he has noticed how horrendous the AIDS virus really is. In a
quote he says, For too long we have closed our eyes as a nation…….We face the danger
that half of our youth will not reach adulthood. Mbeki knows that in the future,
devastation will come before any answers or happiness. Our dreams as a people will
soon be shattered…….There is no other moment than the present to take any action….The
time is now. With all of the continent of Africa aware and awake to the problems that
the AIDS/HIV is presenting hopefully changes will be made. However, it is up to the
health care officials, government, and African citizens to make any sort of transformation
into a healthier, and more aware people. It will be a difficult transition for everyone, but
it can be done. (10.)