Causes of spread of HIV/ AIDS in Africa
Causes of spread of HIV/ AIDS in Africa
HIV-1 and HIV-2 are the types of viruses that cause the AIDS disease in humans. HIV-2 virus is commonly found in West Africa while HIV-1 virus dominates the entire world (All Life, 1). The HIV viruses are related to Simian Immunodeficiency Viruses also known as SIV that is found in monkey and other apes. In 1959, Central Africa recorded the first human to test positive for HIV virus. The theory of the origin of HIV was that the virus was extracted from the Simian Immunodeficiency Viruses that was transmitted from animal species to the human population in between the year 1930-1940 (All Life, 1). The transmission was facilitated through the act of slaughtering and eating of bush meat especially from the monkey by the Western and Central African people.
The HIV virus is contact through direct exchange of specific body fluids like semen, blood and vaginal fluid. The virus can access the body through the mucous membranes during sexual intercourse, or direct injection of viruses into the blood vessels. However, sexual intercourse is the major mode of transmission of the HIV virus globally. In detail, HIV is transmitted through unprotected anal or virginal sexual intercourse with an infected individual. Secondly, an infected mother can transmit the virus to child through breastfeeding and is referred to as Vertical transmission. Thirdly, the virus can be transmitted through injection from using contaminated needles that commonly occur when drug user share a single needle or when health care employees or nurses are involved in prick needle accident. Fourthly, the use of contaminated surgical equipment commonly during traditional circumcision can cause HIV infection. Fifthly, it can be transmitted through a blood transfusion when an infected blood is used in the transfusion. Lastly, body fluid from an infected person such as salvia from deep kissing can cause the transmission of the HIV virus (All Life, 1).
Contrarily, the issue of HIV/AIDS on the African continent is one of the most significant worldwide public health challenges of our current time. In Africa, the HIV/AIDS virus is the one killer. The World Health Organisation Statistics suggests that 15% of the earth population have HIV/AIDS virus. From the result, 70% of the infected individuals are all Africans (Burci & Claude, 487). The Southern Africa countries have the highest number of people living or dying from HIV/AIDS. The infection rates are high in countries like Lesotho, Zambia, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and South Africa. However, some countries in the North Africa have the lowest rate of HIV infections compared to modern cities of the world like in the United States.
In Africa, the cultural stigma associated with HIV is the number one reason people avoid being tested. Also, some cultural norms such as female genital mutilation have promoted the infection rate of HIV in the Africa. It is logic that sexual intercourse with a circumcised female facilitates the exchange of blood. Other cultural practices such traditional male circumcision using the same cutting knife has caused the infection of AIDS virus in young youth.
Religion has also contributed to the infection of HIV/AIDS. In Kenya, the government has banned safe-sex commercials because they are unethical. Additionally, Pope Benedict banned the use of condoms when he was in his African tour in 2009. Both Muslim and Catholic schools have banned the use of condoms. These undermine the campaign against HIV infection in Africa because safe-sex campaigns will significant help the African Continent to end AIDS.
The continuous suspicion of modern medicine in the entire world is undermining the struggle to end HIV/AIDS. Many politicians and religious leaders in sub-Saharan Africa distrust the modern medication because they believe that the Western Nations are planning for a mass reduction or sterilization in the population. Therefore, this opposes the utilization of ARV tablet in their nations.
The most challenging issues in AIDS pandemic is the unavailability of finances to build medical facilities in some Africa nations (Do something org, 1). Additionally, many Africa nations depend on Western countries to funds their ARV medication programme because they are expensive. In general, political instability and high poverty level in Africa has increased risky behaviours such as drug abuse and prostitutions. This promotes the spread of HIV infections.
The African nations are very reluctant in performing medical research aimed at ending HIV/AIDS. Instead, they rely on Western countries to perform these studies because they lack fund or expertise in the field of research. Additionally, many African medical facilities are unable to provide quality health care this is due to the shortage of health workers or hospitals in general. Citizens many also rely on traditional medicine men to provide them with remedies that are very ineffective in curing AIDS.
There is corruption in the response to the fight against AIDS. For example, donor agencies, foreign donors and government agencies may steal funds and drugs donated to HIV/AIDS victims. This hinders the hope of ending HIV/AIDS. Lastly, brain drain in the African health care industry is undermining the campaign against AIDS in Africa. In the 1990s, Zimbabwe trained 1200 doctors but only 360 doctors are currently in the country the rest are recruited in countries such as Canada, Australia and the United States. Therefore, the dream of achieving quality health care and medical research in Africa is hindered because of continuous brain drain.
Consequently, the effect of HIV/AIDS infection in Africa is that it affects the economy. Many young people work indifference manufacturing sectors such as construction, mining, transport, tourism, agriculture and financial sector. Therefore, when the rate of HIV/AIDS among the youth is high there will be a decreased in working force, and this reduced the GDP of the country (All Life, 1). Additionally, the AIDS health care programme is very expensive, and the country spends thousands of dollars in subsidising AIDS medication. The social effect is that HIV/AIDS results in poverty (Med Wiser, 1). This is because children are left orphans and homeless. This causes an increase in the number of street boys who later grow to become criminal or gang member. More ever, HIV/AIDS cause a family to break apart, and the future of young people end up becoming insecure.
Finally, the prevention effort of ending HIV/AIDS in Africa is very visible. In 1999, Bill Gates and his wife Foundation funded the LoveLife website (Med Wiser, 1). The website is very resourceful in providing information about teenager sexual health and relationships. The South African countries like Botswana have started a school programme that will teach high school students on HIV/AIDS education as a preventative measure. The Stanford University has developed a technology referred to TeachAIDS that will be used in learning facilities to educate students on AIDS awareness (Med Wiser, 1). The issue that undermines HIV/AIDS awareness is the HIV fatigue. This is the situation where the public is growing tired of being reminded of the same disease over and over.
All Life. HIV/Aids. 14 September 2000.Web. 13 December 2015.<http://www.health24.com/Medical/HIV-AIDS/Overview/What-are-the-causes-of-HIVAids-20130205>
Burci, Gian L, and Claude-Henri Vignes. World Health Organization. Hague, Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 2004. Print.
Do something org. 11 facts about HIV in Africa. 23 March 2015. Web. 13 December 2015.<https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-hiv-africa>
Med Wiser. AIDS in Africa. 12 February 2015. Web. 13 December 2015.<http://www.medwiser.org/hiv-aids/around-the-world/aids-in-africa/>