AIDS in AfricaAcquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is one of the most deadlyviruses in the world.
No country in Africa has escaped the virus. Some have beeneffected more then others though. The spread of AIDS in Africa is because ofpoor medical treatment and a lack of education on the part of the people.HIV is the virus which causes AIDS.(Aids in Africa,1994) HIV stands forHuman Immune-deficiency Virus. The virus attacks the bodies immune systemand weakens it. Scientists have wondered about the origin of HIV ever since theepidemic emerged. Experts believe that the virus was contracted through Chimpanzees.
(AIDScame from Chimps, 1999) Perhaps when someone was bitten by a chimp, or ahunter was exposed to contaminated blood while field dressing an animal. (AIDScame from Chimps, 1999) Tests were done by Dr. Beatrice Hahn of the Universityof Alabama. Her studies tracked HIV back to a virus that infects four sub-speciesof chimps that live in Africa. (AIDS came from Chimps, 1999) Hahn and her teamstudied frozen tissue from a chimp that died of complications at childbirth. Inthis frozen tissue their was the chimp version of the AIDS virus, called SIVcpz.The genes in SIVcpz are genetically similar to the AIDS virus.
(AIDS came fromChimps, 1999) Chimps who have probably carried this virus for thousands ofyears do not get sick from it. Researchers are trying to find out why chimps arenot effected by this virus, because it may lead to a cure. (Aids in Africa,1994) This productive finding about the virus wasn’t found until 1997 when testing started.
(Aids in Africa,1994) If it would have been found sooner maybe the massivespread of AIDS could have been prevented.Since the start of the epidemic an estimated 34 million people living inSub-Saharan Africa in 1998 were infected with HIV. (AIDS,1991) This is due to alack of education on the part of the people in Africa. They are not taught aboutthe virus as we are in the United States. In this country the public and mediaeducate the people about AIDS, including how to prevent the disease.
Withoutembarrassment, Americans openly discuss methods in which the disease istransmitted. However in African cultures confronting sexual issues that causeAIDS and HIV is very uncommon.(AIDS the epidemic,1994) In Africa AIDS has become the number one cause of death, overtakingMalaria.(The AIDS Reader,1991) The U.N. AIDS/health experts say more than 40million people contracted the disease in 1980’s and nearly 12 million of themhave died in Africa. (The AIDS Reader,1991) If the people in Sub-Saharan Africawere educated about preventing the spread of AIDS and HIV maybe the statisticswouldn’t be so dramatically different from other countries.
In the African countries good medical treatment can be hard to find. TheUnited States has a better economy, and more highly trained professionals thenAfrica. The lower quality of medical treatment in Africa has contributed to someof the spread of AIDS in the past.(The AIDS Reader,1991) Unfortunately the cost of drugs to slow down the disease can cost$10,000-$20,000 per year per person. (The AIDS Reader,1991) This keeps mostinfected HIV patients from getting the needed drugs because they cant affordthem.. This amount of money would cover the annual health care for 200 peoplein Zimbabwe.
(The AIDS Reader,1991) A family in Sub-Saharan Africa might p.2spend between $600 and $1,500 to care for a person living with AIDS.(The AIDSReader,1991) This money could be used for a college education or other basic necessities.
This country was hit so hard with AIDS that more then one-quarterof working-age adults are infected with HIV and are forced to use money forhealth care.(AIDS the epidemic,1994)Zimbabwe was the hardest hit country of AIDS or HIV. In this countryabout half of all hospital beds are filled with patients who have AIDS and AIDSrelated symptoms.(AIDS,1991) Even if we stopped AIDS now the millions ofpeople already living with it would make the disease continue. In Zimbabwe 25testing sites were set up to test pregnant women’s blood for HIV virus. At two ofthese sites less then 10% were infected, but at the remaining sites almost halfwere infected.(Aids in Africa,1994) All pregnant women with the virus have a riskof passing it onto the baby.One other major problem in the spread of AIDS is through rape andsexual abuse.
In Africa these kinds of sexual actions are never discussed by