Anaylsis Of Hiv & Aids In West Africa

1063 words - 4 pages

AIDS first became widely recognized throughout the world almost twenty years ago when, in 1984, a 12 year old boy named Ryan White was officially diagnosed with the virus in Indianapolis after receiving a blood transfusion. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) have since spread rapidly to other countries all over the world, with the continent of Africa having been affected the worst. HIV/AIDS has been predicted to be the world's worst epidemic since the bubonic plague killed millions of people in Europe in the 14th century. Stated in a 2001 report made by the United Nations, "AIDS is the biggest threat to Africa's development." It not only affects Africa in terms of economy, but it has also hindered the advancement of Africa's society as a whole. The number of HIV/AIDS victims is quickly rising in West Africa despite many of these countries having previously had relatively stable rates of the disease in previous years. My analysis of HIV/AIDS in West Africa will begin with a presentation of substantial proof that HIV and AIDS are serious problems affecting West Africa, then an examination of why this problem exists, and I will conclude with a few possible solutions to the steadily increasing HIV/AIDS problem in West Africa and the world as a whole.Since the beginning of the history of HIV and AIDS, increasing numbers of people have been contracting and dying from these diseases in West Africa. With over 28.1 million HIV- or AIDS-positive men, women, and children in Africa at the end of 2001, this continent is home to almost 70% of the total HIV and AIDS victims world-wide. The mass migration of people to West African towns and cities is considered to be a major reason that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is increasing in this particular region, according to Dr. Neff Walker, an UNAIDS epidemiologist. This migration and the subsequent population growth have encouraged the spread of a quicker-killing strain of HIV that has previously been prevalent only in the south of the continent, and is now showing up in HIV/AIDS patients in West African hospitals. This more virulent strain, called HIV1, is killing its victims in 9-10 years, as opposed to the older HIV2 that people can live with for up to 40 years. Previously, HIV2 has been the dominant form in West Africa, but Dr. Walker believes that the more perilous HIV1 is likely to "push it out." Dr. Walker is especially concerned with Cameroon, where the HIV/AIDS rate has almost doubled in recent years, increasing from 6% to nearly 12% of the total population of the country. In Burkina Faso, a fifth of rural farming families have had to decrease their occupational activities because of the toll that HIV and AIDS have had on the people in that country. HIV and AIDS are huge economic problems in West Africa. Olusegon Obasanjo, the president of Nigeria, warns that, "The prospect of extinction of the entire population of a continent looms larger and larger."The main question...

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