AIDS in Africa


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The new century has allowed the worlds nations to take a new outlook on the world. It has given them a chance to decide what the pressing issues are to solve, and think of ways to solve them. The UN has set the year 2000, as the year to unite the world's nations in order to make the world one. One of the issues that the world's nations are faced with is the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. Even though is can be targeted to one area, this is still a world issue, because of the western worlds role in creating their instability. Over the past years, especially the most resent ones, much advancement in new drug treatments, and vaccines have been made, but there is the issue of funding. There are many changes that need to be made in order to better the situation in Africa. UN figures say that 12.2 million women and 10.1 million men were living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa at the end of 1999. These numbers need to be decreased, and the new millennium is the world's chance.

"If today marks the turning point, it is too late for nearly all the 34.3 million people who are living with HIV and AIDS"(Gellman, July 5,2000 A01). This is the problem, even though the worlds nations are getting their acts together now, each day 15,000 people are affected with HIV/AIDS, so everyday that goes by, the numbers increase. Out if the 34.3 million people who are living with HIV and AIDS, only 2 percent are able to get access to antiretroviral drugs, or even basic treatments for diseases that are the result from HIV/AIDS. (Dido) " 'They are already dead,' said one despairing U.S. health official. 'They're just still walking around.'"(Gellman, July 5,2000 A01) Many African Nations that face the problems of the HIV/AIDS epidemic can't afford to help out their citizens buy drugs. The average cost of antiretroviral drugs is "US $618 for a months supply- an impossible in a country where most workers earn under US $ 275." (Mbabane, October 17,2000) The United Nations has gone to extreme measures to help out countries where this is the case, but the problem is that there are too many places where this is the case. Many of these nations feel that it is the United States responsibility to help out in the funding for these drugs, and that they should be providing them at a lower cost, to nations that can't afford them.

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The world is supposed to be one nation, and Sub-Saharan Africa needs help.

The other issues that come with these drugs that are being developed in the West are the differences in the standard of living. Most Americans don't worry about food supply, and can manage to get most of there nutrient that are required a day. Where as in Africa, life isn't as easy. Most people fight in order to get one decent meal a day. They rely on the little money that they make in order to get food. But because of the cost of the drugs that the West is providing for these countries people are being forced to choose between two items that are necessary for them to live. They can chose between having these drugs that will prolong their life, but after paying the cost of them, will no longer have money for food, or have food, and live with out the drugs. (Dido) Where is the Justus in this situation? There is no point of having one without the other, both of these options have to be made available to people who are infected with HIV/AIDS. Some countries have promised to supply these drugs to Women who are pregnant, or who have survived being raped, but that is not good enough. We live in a material world, and the least the west and rich nations can do is help provide life-prolonging drugs to those who can't afford them.

Another aspect of this issue is whether it is better to help those who are affected, or create more awareness so that less people become affected with the virus. It's a toss up. Life is important, but if the UN and other organizations continue to provide funds for those who are infected, the numbers will not decrease, because people are still going to get infected. But if they provide funds in order to teach youth and create more awareness about HIV/AIDS, then eventually the number of people who are affected with the virus will decrease. Maybe both are important. But which one will better the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa. The number of people infected with HIV/AIDS is suppose to double by the year 2005, so isn't it more important to stop the spread, and create institutes to perform research and screening. By having these institutes, more jobs will be provided, which will increase their economy, and people will be able to get tested, and eventually the number of people affected with the HIV/AIDS virus will decrease. Botswana, Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda have accepted an agreement with UNFPA and UNAIDS, which will provide them with 9.08 million us dollar in order to fight the fight and stop the spread. This money has been assigned to increase awareness within their youth and to expand their campaigns against this virus. (Owino, October 18,2000) The HIV/AIDS epidemic is acknowledge as a world crisis, that has to be solve, but how to solve it is and will be always be an issue; the only problem is that there is no time, every minute approximately 80 people are affected with HIV/AIDS, so the world's leaders have to come up with a cure now.

"Up to a fifth of patients in some African hospitals are misdiagnosed as HIV-infected on the basis of symptoms alone, and left to die because the drugs required to treat AIDS are too costly."(Medecins Sans Frontieres, September 13,2000) This is not the way which the world should be running in. These people should have a chance to survive. The western world should take responsibility for the economic state and political instability of Africa due to colonization and start helping them solve a problem that has affected so many lives. Obviously simpler to say then to do, but the worlds leaders have to get on top of this issue. In the new era, that we are in many advancements have been made in drug therapy, but if the people in these countries cannot afford the drugs, what is the point. If they have to choose between basic essentials and life prolonging drugs, there is no point in trying to find the answer in drug therapy. The answer is knowledge. Funds need to be provided in order to teach people how to not get infected, and to create screening processes, so that people can find out whether they are HIV positive or not. Just by knowing their status, a lot of lives will be saved. The UN "has set a goal to cut new infections by 25 percent by 2005,". (Gellman, July 5,2000 A01) "We are at the beginning of a pandemic, not the middle, not the end." (Dido) The world nations need to solve this issue, before it becomes too late.


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