HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS

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With reference to one animal or human disease, explain why its
economic consequences can vary spatially.

Introduction

There are many diseases, which produce economic consequences and which
can vary in their effect depending on location. Some are Tuberculosis
(TB), Malaria, Ebola Virus and AIDs. Throughout this report I am going
to focus on the AIDs virus.

HIV is the Human immunodeficiency virus, and AIDs is the Acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome, which it causes.

HIV is a slow retrovirus, which means that not only does it take
months to show any symptoms and years to develop fully. It invades the
white cells by reproducing itself backwards inside them. The white
cells are the ones, which would normally produce anti-bodies to aid
the body's defence against disease. It is therefore easily spread by
bodily contact and possibly without them the carrier realising they
have the disease. The body becomes the target of everyday infections
and cell changes which cause cancer.

While HIV/AIDs is clearly a health problem, the world has come to
realise it is also a development problem that threatens human welfare,
socio-economic advances, productivity, social cohesion, and even
national security. HIV/AIDs reaches into every corner of society,
affecting parents, children and youth, teachers and health workers,
the rich and the poor. In the last few years the highest growth of
HIV/AIDs has been in women and children and therefore the world health
organisation is recommended that all pregnant as screened for
HIV/AIDs.

Economic consequences of HIV/AIDs are:

· The costs of funding research

· The cost of vaccinations

· The loss of people of working age to the community

· Loss of income due to reduced productivity leading also to reduction
in GNP (Gross National Product)

· Personal hardship - loss of the breadwinner.

The World Bank, in partnership with others, is working to roll back
the spread of this global epidemic. As the largest long-term investor
in prevention and migration of HIV/AIDs in developing countries, the
World Bank group is working with its partners to:

· Prevent the further spread of HIV/AIDs among vulnerable groups such
as women and children and in the general population;

· Promote countries health policies and multi-sectional approaches
(e.g. By working in education, social safety nets, transport and other
vital areas);

· Expand basic care and treatment for those affected by HIV/AIDs and
their families, as well as for children whose parents have died of
AIDs.

Where did it come from?

The virus evolved in sub-Saharan Africa, crossing over from a group of
chimpanzees to people in the 1930's this could have been contaminated
by meat or a bite from a pet.

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A combination of international travel,
urbanisation, contaminated blood, sexual promiscuity and intravenous
drug use (IDU) produce a growing pandemic.

AIDs was first seen in the human population in significant numbers in
the USA (San Francisco). In San Francisco Aids was regarded as the
'Gay Plague' as it was mostly found amongst homosexuals. This
prevented the heterosexual and straight community from regarding it
seriously or ever considering they could be at risk.

Comparing Countries

I am going to compare the LEDC continent of sub-Saharan Africa with
the higher income countries, in the West.

By far the worst affected region is sub-Saharan Africa being home to
29.4 million people living with the HIV/Aids virus. Approximately 3.5
million new infections occurred there in 2002, while the epidemic
claimed the lives of an estimated 2.4 million Africans in the past
year. Ten million young people (aged 15-24) and almost 3 million
children under 15 are living with HIV.

In the absence of prevention, treatment and care efforts, the AIDs
death toll on the continent is expected to continue rising and to peak
around the end of this decade. Although the worst of the epidemic's
impact will be felt in the course of the next 10 years, possibly
longer. It is not too late to introduce measures that can reduce that
impact, including wider access to HIV medicines and socio-economic
steps that help protect the poor against the worst of the epidemic's
effects. Groups targeted recently include long distance lorry drivers
who spread the disease widely throughout the African continent as they
travel away from their families. Epidemics are under way in southern
Africa where, in four countries the national adult HIV numbers have
risen higher than thought possible, Botswana (38.8%), Lesotho (31%),
Swaziland (33.4%) and Zimbabwe (33.7%). The food crisis in the last
three countries is linked to the effects (on the lives of young,
productive adults) of their longstanding HIV/AIDs epidemic. The
decrease in the healthy, young working population produces severe
problems in the feeding and support of the population as a whole. As a
result, the healthier older generation have to give up work to look
after the grandchildren who have sick or no parents, further effecting
productivity.

There are new, hopeful signs that the epidemic could eventually be
brought under control. In South Africa, for pregnant women under 20,
HIV rates fell in 2001. This, along with the drop in syphilis rates
among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics suggests that
awareness campaigns and prevention programmes are beginning to prove a
success, possibly due to the Western world influence. A decline in HIV
prevalence has also been detected among young inner-city women in
Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Infection levels among women aged 15-24
attending antenatal clinics dropped in 2001 (however, similar trends
were not evident in outlying areas of the city, this I believe is
because they cannot access clinics and education, nor is there yet
evidence of them occurring elsewhere in the country).

Uganda continues to provide evidence that the epidemic does yield to
human intervention. HIV infection levels are on the decline in several
parts of the country as shown by the steady drop in HIV prevalence
among 15-19-year-old pregnant women. Condom use by single women aged
15-24 almost doubled between 1995 and 2000/2001, and more women in
that age group delayed sexual intercourse or abstained entirely,
although these positive trends do not counteract the severity of the
epidemic in these countries. All of them face massive challenges not
only in sustaining and expanding prevention successes, but also in
providing adequate treatment, care and support to the millions of
people living with HIV/AIDS or the people orphaned by the epidemic.
Botswana has become the first African country to adopt a policy to
ultimately make anti-retrovirals available to all citizens who need
them. However, approximately only 2000 people are currently benefiting
from this commitment. In addition, a handful of companies such as
Anglo Gold, De Beers, Debswana and Heineken have announced schemes to
provide anti-retrovirals to workers and some family members. These are
all valuable efforts. Though when measured against the extent of need,
they are simply proven to be inadequate.

In some areas of Africa, it may be that for cultural reasons and
religious beliefs that protected sex is forbidden, although moral
values should indicate otherwise. As you can see from Map 1,
Sub-Saharan Africa carries the largest amount of HIV/AIDs carriers.
Factors causing this may include religious and cultural taboos
regarding safe sex, out dated cultural practices such as multiple
wives, female circumcise and anal sex. Males tend to be un-educated
and have attitude problems relating to these practices. Their
attitudes need to be changed.

On the other hand, looking at the higher income countries

Approximately 76 000 people became infected with HIV in high-income
countries in 2002. A total of about 1.6 million people are now living
with the virus in these countries, where an estimated 23 000 people
died of AIDs in 2002. For such well developed countries this is a
number too high to bear thinking about. The introduction of anti-retroviral
therapy in 1995/1996 has dramatically reduced the HIV/AIDs related
mortality, although this trend has begun to level off in the past two
years. Due to the longer survival of people living with HIV there has
been a steady increase in the number of people living with the virus
in high-income countries. About half a million people were receiving
antiretroviral drugs at the end of 2001. The effect on productivity is
much less marked than in LEDCs, more money is also available for
research. However, both counselling and prevention services need to be
stepped up if an increase in HIV transmission is to be avoided.

A larger proportion of new HIV diagnoses in several Western European
countries is occurring through heterosexual intercourse. More than
half of the 4,279 new HIV infections diagnosed in the United Kingdom
in 2001 resulted from heterosexual sex, compared to 33% of new
infections in 1998. In Ireland, a similar trend is visible, with the
number of heterosexually transmitted HIV infections increasing in
1998. Although injecting drug use remains the main mode of
transmission in Spain, about one-quarter of all HIV infections have
been heterosexually transmitted.

In the United Kingdom, as in some other European countries, a large
share of heterosexually transmitted HIV infections are being diagnosed
in people who originate from, or who have lived in or visited, areas
where HIV prevalence is high. Prevention, treatment and care
activities need to become more culturally appropriate and socially
relevant if they are to reach and benefit such communities. Health
care provision in England is provided by the state and is funded by
tax payers money, most health care to the public is free at the point
of delivery

Most high-income countries are contending also with concentrated HIV
epidemics, including in the United States of America (USA) where
injecting drug use is a prominent route of HIV infection. Reported HIV
infections among young people can indicate overall trends in
incidence, since those persons are likely to have become exposed to
HIV infection fairly recently. In the many areas of the USA and of all
the HIV reportings, the majority of infections were found to be among
13-19-year-olds and among females (56%), a disproportionate percentage
of them African-American. Clean needle programmes and good nutrition
are proving to be a good bulwalk against increased infection. However,
most young women acquire the virus through heterosexual intercourse.

In most high-income countries, the successes achieved by, and among,
men who have sex with other men are clearly now a thing of the past.
Prevention efforts appear not to be reaching the large numbers of men
whom increases in unsafe sex are being mirrored by higher rates of
sexually transmitted diseases in Australia, Canada, the USA and
countries of Western Europe. A telling and ongoing trend of increasing
unsafe sex has been documented among men who have sex with men in San
Francisco, for example. A survey of self-reported sexual behaviour has
shown increases in unprotected anal sex, much of it between
sero-discordant partners (i.e., one partner is HIV-positive). The
survey also found rising rates of other sexually transmitted diseases
among the respondents.

Promoting the need for renewed prevention efforts, especially among
young people, are recent findings of increases in high-risk
behaviours, less frequent condom use and higher rates of sexually
transmitted infections in several countries. In the United Kingdom,
for example, rates of gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydial infections
have more than doubled since 1995.

To Conclude

In conclusion I believe that the economic consequences of the HIV/AIDS
virus do spread according to the development of the country. As poor
countries still struggle to boost their spending even to levels that
fall far short of the need. As a result, millions of people living
with HIV/AIDS have to pay for their own health care. In sub-Saharan
Africa, some individuals are spending pocket money on HIV/AIDS
services themselves. With hard work, funding, education and extra
healthcare provisions I do believe that in the future we could reduce
the spread of the disease and the spiralling effects on productivity
in these countries, hopefully to halt the exponential spread of the
disease and maybe even put it on the road to into extinction.
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