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Aids/Hiv Epidemic In Africa Essay

1177 words - 5 pages

World GeographySub-Saharan Africa is made up of about ten percent of the world's population. In 2001, officials estimated that nearly two-thirds of the 40 million people living with HIV resided in this region (Hearing 1). And what makes this epidemic so unique, is that the virus is indiscriminate to all of the people living there with almost the same number of women affected as men. So the question remains: how is it that this epidemic could have evolved into what it is today? The answer to this question is not a simple one. The HIV epidemic that has taken control of Sub-Saharan Africa is a result of a lack of funding for education and HIV prevention, cultural obstacles, poor economic conditions, and blatant political ignorance. In addition to these factors, I believe that there are a few geological factors that have contributed to the spread of HIV/AIDS epidemic in that region. It is in my opinion that unless something is done, Sub-Saharan Africa will loose its fight against HIV/AIDS.Since 1994, genocide, civil war, and escalating violence have plagued Sub-Saharan Africa. Today officials have begun to describe the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa as "catastrophic" (2). In 2002, officials reported that the ongoing violence has nearly 70,000 people, and has left more than a million people facing serious food shortages (2B). As a result of the ongoing violence, funds are being reallocated from healthcare and education to fund these wars. As a result, many HIV/AIDS prevention organizations have been forced to shut down, thus allowing HIV/AIDS to spread even quicker. In fact, of 24 million HIV, a large number of them are unaware that they are infected. Because of this, heterosexual contact becomes a major transmission route of young adults in Africa (3).Another contributing factor to the increasing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa is cultural obstacles. In many parts of Africa it is common, and sometimes expected, for a male to have more then one wife. In fact, I myself know a man in Africa who has four wives. In addition, young women are commonly paired with older partners who have already been exposed to HIV. Often times these young women lack the knowledge or self-confidence to resist sexual advances or persuade older men to use condoms (4). As a result, the number of women infected with HIV/AIDS has increased dramatically. Today officials believe that 5,700,000 young women living in Sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV (4).In addition to cultural obstacles, political and governing ignorance is a major contributor to the increase of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa. For the majority of the 20th century, Sub-Saharan Africa was controlled primarily by a European government. When Sub-Saharan Africa did gain its independence in 1994, they were left with inter-state borders that had little correspondence to ethnic realities, and much work to do in developing their political institutions and economies (5). Without its former European...

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