Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a fatal physical condition that is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The virus damages the human body’s immune system, so that the body cannot protect itself from bacteria, viruses, and prions that cause diseases. With severely lowered defenses, AIDS patients die from common illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhea, cold, and tuberculosis. The HIV virus does not directly attack its victim; the disease that patients suffer from after receiving the virus is what hurts and kills them.
AIDS is a disease that is transmitted easily through unprotected sexual intercourse, sharing of needles, blood transfusion, and childbirth. Without proper knowledge and equipment, it is very difficult to prevent the spread of AIDS. Ever since the illness was discovered thirty years ago, it has taken the lives of thirty million people and affected the lives of many, many more. The AIDS pandemic has been and still is most severe in third-world countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It has impacted the economies of entire nations by crippling and killing individuals in the most productive years of their lives (“HIV/AIDS”). AIDS greatly influences the government sector, agricultural sector, private corporations, and individual households. Among those impacts, the impact on households is the most significant and severe. This paper will discuss the various ways AIDS affects families and the most effective ways of solving this issue.
One way AIDS impacts a household is by preventing the breadwinner of the family from earning income. The patient, who is often a man, would be unable to go to work for an extended period of time until he or she recovers. More often than not, the patient will also ultimately pass away from AIDS, thereby creating a permanent loss of income. Research in the African nation of Zambia illustrates that middle class families were quick to fall below the poverty line after the death of the father. Thousands of families had to move to smaller homes, because the father was the provider of income and the recipient of a rental home from his employer (Population Division 41). This shows how the incapacitation of one person affects numerous others around that individual
The second negative effect of AIDS on households is the high medical expenses the family members must burden in order to take care of the patient. Families spent significant portions of their income and savings to pay for medical, funeral, and mourning costs. In Tanzania, a household that experienced an adult death from AIDS in the last twelve months spent ten times more money on medical care, funeral, and mourning expenses than households that did not (Stover 4). Most African families already have difficulty meeting their basic needs such as food, water and shelter. Adding more expenses will crush and burden them even more.
The third impact of AIDS on households is the effect on food consumption. AIDS causes financial obstacles by...