Aids And Africa

The following are facts cited in “Acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome” by Gerald J. Stine. Worldwide, about 9,000 persons a day become HIV-infected. The majority of all HIV infections worldwide occur in people ages 15-24. Over 1 million people die of AIDS each year. The number of HIV-infections worldwide has tripled since 1990! It is estimated that there will be a 20% decline in population in East Africa by the year 2001 due to AIDS (Stine, 360). “AIDS is the leading cause of deaths among adult men and the second leading cause of deaths among adult women in Africa” (Bethel, 135). The first for women is pregnancy and abortion related.

“It is extremely difficult to judge the exact extent of AIDS in Africa, either geographically or in the population” so rather than focusing on Western Africa alone, it is most feasible to acknowledge modes of transmission across the African continent as a whole (Bethel, 138). Also, “we can assert that AIDS cases do not occur on the African continent in a uniform fashion but rather form an “AIDS Belt” in central, southern, and eastern Africa” (Bethel, 138).

First, by mentioning the fact that the Third World contains three fourths of the Earth’s population, and combining that fact with that of those worlds having an overall lesser knowledge upon transmission, prevention, and AIDS in general, it is not surprising that these countries populations are greatly impacted by mortality. “Africa, with about 12% of the world’s population, is now reporting about 25% of the world’s AIDS cases. It is estimated to have over 65% of the total number of HIV-infected adults and 90% of the world’s HIV-infected children” (Stine, 364). An astonishing fact that further allows the realistic comprehension of the diseases’ dominance in Africa is that 6,000 Africans become HIV-infected each day which is 250 persons per hour or four per minute.

“Between 20% and 30% of sexually active adults between the ages of 20 and 40 are believed to be infected with HIV in some urban areas of sub-Sahara Africa, where the disease is most prevalent. In rural areas, where the majority of the population lives, seroprevalence remains much lower but is still increasing. Stine also mentions that available evidence suggests that it is unlikely that the spread of HIV will be brought under control in the near future, unfortunately (368). “The WHO estimates that one in three of the 40million people in Southern Africa will be HIV-infected by the year 2010” (Stine, 366).

Before discussing how AIDS is transmitted, it is quite relevant to discuss who is transmitting and being infected by the disease. About 66% of HIV infections occur in those under age 25. The ratio of men to women AIDS cases in Africa is 1:1 which is comparatively abstract from that of Western society at 8:1, males to females. This 1:1 ratio is said to be the result of the African men’s mentality of “taking” their women in a more violent style of sex, where as white civilized men in the West express a more gentle form of sex says Bethel (46).

In Africa, the highest incidence of AIDS has been found among sexually active heterosexuals. The women tend to be younger than men and a high percentage are thought to be prostitutes. Women in Africa contract AIDS much more often than in North America. Also, it appears that AIDS can be transmitted across the placenta from the infected mother to the fetus so there are many more children with AIDS in Africa than in the US. “In fact, children constitute almost one-third of all AIDS cases in Africa (Bethel, 139). As in the US, AIDS in Africa appears to occur much more frequently in large cities than in the rural areas, though this may be a reporting bias. And finally, those who are discovered to have the AIDS virus frequently have a past history of venereal disease and are found to be more sexually active than those without the infection.

Major routes of HIV transmission in Africa are heterosexual, mother-to-child, and transfusions with unscreened blood. In addition, prostitution and cultural sexual practices greatly influence the increase in transmission rates. Transfusions, though, are now being screened in most major urban areas and therefore are not