Why is HIV in Africa so serious?

Many people have noted that HIV in Africa seems to be extremely severe, and some have wondered why this is so. There are several reasons why HIV in Africa is such a serious problem, ranging from interactions with other diseases present in Africa to social and cultural problems unique to Africa. It is important to remember that HIV/AIDS in Africa is not a single epidemic, as some African nations are managing the situation better than others, and different clades of HIV are present in different regions, suggesting that several distinct epidemics are occurring.

According to the latest genetic research, one of the main reasons HIV in Africa is so prevalent is that the disease likely originated in Africa. Obviously, the longer a disease is present in a region, the more likely it is to infect a large proportion of the population. Especially since HIV can have a very long incubation period, Africans could be infected for years without knowing it until the disease emerged, spreading HIV all the time.

HIV/AIDS workers in Africa also face the serious problem of interactions between HIV and other diseases. Tuberculosis, for example, is endemic in Africa, and many HIV/AIDS patients die of tuberculosis as a result, even if their HIV was under control. HIV in Africa can also progress unchecked in some areas simply because people lack the ability to access the medicines they need to treat it, or the supplies to prevent it. HIV/AIDS drugs can be extremely expensive, making them well beyond the reach of many Africans, even with the help of charities.

Cultural values ​​also play a role in the problem. The use of condoms and other barrier devices is frowned upon in some African communities, and in some regions it is commonly acceptable for men to engage in extramarital sex, putting their wives and other partners at risk. In other regions of Africa, cultural traditions surrounding death and birth play a role in the AIDS epidemic, as people are exposed to blood and other body fluids as a result of contact with the bodies of HIV victims. / AIDS.

The spread of HIV in Africa has also been accelerated by poor nutrition in many areas, making it difficult for people to stay healthy, with some people suspecting that a minority of HIV/AIDS cases may even be caused by medical personnel. unwittingly trying to do it. The right thing. Reuse of syringes, for example, is acceptable in some areas as a result of a lack of access to fresh supplies for sterile syringes, so in a single day's vaccination campaign, HIV could be transmitted to hundreds of children. It is important to note that this is very rare; The vast majority of medical organizations working in Africa recognize that the risk of AIDS is too great to reuse potentially contaminated syringes and other medical supplies.

It is estimated that 60% of the world's HIV/AIDS cases can be found in Africa, and that the problem will only get worse as more and more Africans become infected. The AIDS epidemic has spawned a generation of AIDS orphans, some of whom are themselves infected, raising concerns that a vicious cycle could evolve in Africa, making it extremely difficult to stop the progression of the disease. illness.

Go up