Hiv/Aids in Africa Essay

842 Words Jan 10th, 2013 4 Pages
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region of the world that is most affected by HIV/AIDS. The United Nations reports that an estimated 25.4 million people are living with HIV and that approximately 3.1 million new infections occurred in 2004. To put these figures in context, more than 60 percent of the people living with the infection reside in Africa. Even these staggering figures do not quite capture the true extent and impact that this disease causes on the continent. In 1998, about 200,000 Africans died as a result of various wars taking place on the continent. In that same year, more than 2 million succumbed to HIV/AIDS (Botchwey, 2000).
The pandemic can be likened very much to the Bubonic Plague of the fourteenth century in terms of its
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The impact of AIDS may be felt as an immediate shock, as when a family loses a breadwinner, or in the case of a firm, an important employer leaves. However, at the national level the impact is felt as the gradual accrual of losses. The toll of HIV/AIDS on households can be very severe. Many families lose their bread winners. Many of those dying have surviving partners who are themselves infected and are in need of care. They leave behind children grieving and struggling to survive without the care of the parents. The disease strips the family assets further impoverishing the poor. In many cases, the presence of AIDS means that the household eventually dissolves, as the parents die and children are sent to relatives for care and upbringing. The gravity of the impact depends not only on the numbers infected and directly affected by the pandemic, but also on the resources available to manage the situation. This may be resources accessible at family, community or national level.
The pandemic also has dire impacts on the demographics of a country. This impact is usually more difficult to assess as it is largely dependent on data from birth and death certificates, and health records, all of which are poor or almost non-existent in that part of the world. Due to this, life expectancy at birth has fallen, dramatically, and the population structure has changed shape eroding years of progress made by many African countries. This obviously

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