The spread of AIDS

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AIDS Transmission

AIDS is a long-lasting epidemic that has spread throughout the globe, with some regions being more severely affected than others. Body fluids like pre-semenal fluids, semen, blood, rectal fluids, and vaginal fluids can all be carriers of the HIV infection. This occurs when different kinds of bodily fluids from different people mix, are injected from a syringe or needle, come into contact with raptured body tissues, or come into contact with mucous membranes. The majority of HIV transmission occurs during intercourse, either anal or vaginal. Without a condom, HIV is also spread to children from infected mothers during pregnancy, delivery and when breastfeeding. This risk initially made many mothers and children victims until HIV testing was introduced to all mother going for antenatal care and if any tested positive, she would have to start on medication immediately so as to prevents transmission. The breastfeeding mothers were encouraged to shorten the breastfeeding period to prevent the risks of transmitting the infection, regardless of whether they were on medication. This initiative has helped a big deal in reducing maternal and child mortality of AIDS. The other rare means of transmission include blood transfusions, oral sex, kissing, broken skin contact, of an HIV positive person biting an HIV negative individual.

AIDS Prevalence in Developing Countries

The spread of AIDS across the world is nearly even though more weight is felt in the developing countries. Research shows that individuals who are infected add up to nearly 40 million across the world but the developing countries represent over 80% of the total number. This reveals the relationship between socio-economic status and the epidemic. It is so sad the Global AIDS policies major in curbing the transmission of HIV and assume handling the causes that may be underlying. Of course you cannot succeed destroying anything without dealing with the roots first. The spread and transmission of HIV and AIDS have been triggered by underlying factors such as cultural practices and beliefs, the inadequacy of resources, traditions and also religion. Prevention of the spread of the virus is to be emphasized mostly in these aspects because most of the cultures especially in the developing countries tend to ignore science. For example, in Africa knives are shared during circumcision ceremonies without the consideration of the risks that come along. Some religious beliefs strongly condemn the use of contraceptives during sexual intercourse and yet fail to use the results to many people falling victims of being infected. All this is due to the ignorance of the fact that AIDS is a syndrome which is pathologic and this calls unto the spread of HIV education to these regions of the world. Many people in the developing countries live in abject poverty resulting to them living reckless lives in search of food. Many youth have been exposed to HIV by risking their lives with dangerous lifestyles such as prostitution.

Colonialism and the Spread of AIDS

Most of the African countries were colonies of Europeans countries and during that time the Europeans forced many Africans to leave their homes and lands to relocate to new residence separate from the invading Europeans. In South Africa, the launch of apartheid marked the beginning of torture to the blacks whereby they were subject to slavery. The Africans were objects of slave trade and men were forced into hard labor and exported to different nations in exchange for money and other goods. Families were forced to separate, women ruthlessly raped and mishandled. Children were left without parents are the heartless Europeans forced every way out to win the African land. It is believed that this is exact point where epidemics such as AIDS were introduced to Africa. The development of AIDS became so rampant that lives were lost massively since there was no cure. Colonialism brought about racism in South Africa whereby the blacks were left poor as the white inhabitants greedily grabbed majority property and made massive investments. Furthermore, even after the end of apartheid, still, the racism spirit was dominating over the years that anyone visiting South Africa today can clearly see the boundaries marked by racism. During Lecture 4, Professor Lee discussed on how South Africa transitioned from apartheid to liberation.

Socio-Economic Disparities and HIV in South Africa

Despite its freedom from colonialism, South Africa was left poor. There was no food security, no employment, the culture still forced women to depend on the male for provision and the people experienced a shortfall in medical care. The colonizers still dominated the companies and health facilities and despite freedom, black people experienced discrimination in their own land. The governments therefore decided to integrate the southern regions so as to get rid of the legacy colonialism and apartheid had left behind. However, the difference in the economy and social status is so elaborate and due to the inadequacy of resources, the poor South African citizens are unable to live a healthy life. Two people infected with HIV coming from the two sides can be easily identified because the individual from the high-income category will appear healthy and full of life while the one from the poor side will appear malnourished and sickly.

HIV Treatment and Access to Healthcare

Many pieces of research have been done on HIV across the world and this has brought about new medical measures that infected people adhere to and live long. Most of these services cannot be accessed without money and therefore those who can afford the services manage to live longer than the rest who can only afford food for each day but no surplus for medication. During the reign of President Thambo Mbeki, the anti-retroviral drugs were imported to the country by the British carriers. The medication, however, was so expensive that the government could not buy and also claimed not to trust its effectiveness. Furthermore, the government shifted its attention to infections which were believed to result to AIDS such as fungi and bacteria. This caused the rate of mortality to double within a very short period of time. The government feared on spending on the expensive drugs oblivious of how much the ignorance would cost. This along the years accumulated despite the late realizations and South Africa was latest the leading country with HIV prevalence in the African continent. Nevertheless, the government went ahead and banned any other generic drugs which were being imported to treat the HIV symptoms.

HIV in West Africa

West Africa is second leading with the high incidences of HIV. However, the spreading health education and mobilization of the use of ART has led to the decrease of the numbers but the ratio is still the same. More emphasis has been made on every individual going for HIV testing so as to be aware of their status. This is to encourage those testing positive to be initiated in ARV early enough because initiation has been proven to reduce opportunistic infections and to help people to live long. In West Africa, the rate of HIV infection among young adults is alarmingly higher than in other groups with female species being more vulnerable. More awareness is created on prevention of HIV and the adolescent girls helped on how to prevent vulnerability. The Nigerian government has made an initiative of promoting the youth by providing them with contract jobs to keep them busy and to make them be part of the national economic development. This initiative has played a major role in the reduction of HIV incidence because youth got into sexual activities because of lacking work to keep them occupied.

Global Efforts to Combat HIV

Global governments were encouraged to include dealing with HIV epidemic in the major national goals and therefore reducing the costs of all HIV services. This has resulted in a very significant improvement across the world as every nation has experienced a decline in HIV cases. Getting rid of HIV was included among the major Millennium Development Goals and down the years there has been more research done on the typology, transmission and medication of HIV. A lot has been discovered and many inventions made recently. For example, exposure prophylaxis was discovered to help prevent the spread of the virus after and before an individual contacting the infection. Those already infected have been educated on drug adherence and how to live a positive life and this has reduced stigma and promoted development.


Nattrass, N. (2008). AIDS and the Ecology of Poverty, by Eileen Stillwaggon. Eastern Economic Journal, 34(2), 263.

Youde, J. R. (2016). AIDS, South Africa, and the politics of knowledge. Routledge.

June 26, 2023


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Aids Infectious Disease Stds

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