The impact of HIV/AIDS on human development in African countries
AIDS, in Zimbabwe this figure is per cent, while South Africa, with a prevalence rate of per cent has . and the impact of HIV/AIDS on development. Much of the . how this relationship varies between sub-groups of African countries. reports are successful in exploring the relationship between human development and HIV/AIDS in terms of the current and potential impact on different dimen-. The difference between HIV and AIDS is growing more distinct by the day. having HIV doesn't mean a person will develop AIDS, and it's no.
Not only are the development targets unattainable due to the AIDS epidemic especially in parts of Africabut indeed the very way in which development is practised will have to be rethought. Quoting Tony Barnett, Whiteside described AIDS as a 'long wave disaster…that is a long time in the making and in which the major effects have already begun to occur long before the magnitude of the crisis is recognised and any response is possible'. In fact, the situation is worse than people realise; predictions about AIDS made a decade ago were far too positive.
HIV/AIDS, Population and Sustainable Development
What we do not know is what will happen to the epidemic curve in the aftermath of massive AIDS related deaths. A recent survey from South Africa shows that 1 in 5 women attending ante-natal clinics are HIV positive. We know that the rate of HIV infection will rise significantly in the future, and that most deaths occur in young adults. What will this mean for international development goals?
US estimates show that by life expectancy in Botswana will be reduced to 29 years. The simple answer is no. But what causes HIV? In Africa and Asia HIV is transmitted mainly through heterosexual intercourse, whereas in Eastern Europe the main source of transmission is needle sharing by intravenous drug users.
In terms of sexual intercourse, the chances of transmission in a healthy person is not too great. However, factors such as the type of virus and the stage of infection do matter in terms of facilitating transmission as does the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases.
Behavioural factors are of course crucial in this respect. In South Africa for example, people often have several partners at once in contrast to the assumed serial monogamy in the UK. However, sexual behaviour cannot be seen in isolation; migration, the status of women and their lack of access to economic resources, general health care etc. Thus, poverty in itself does not cause an AIDS epidemic but certainly contributes to it. However, more than poverty, inequality is a crucial factor e.
HIV infection can be diagnosed by a simple test On HIV transmission, the immune system produces antibodies against the virus. A blood or saliva test can detect those antibodies to determine if the virus is present. It can take several weeks after transmission for the HIV antibody test to come back positive. Another test looks for antigens, which are proteins produced by the virus, and antibodies.
- HIV vs. AIDS: What’s the Difference?
This test can detect HIV just days after infection. Both tests are accurate and easy to administer. Another factor signaling that stage 3 HIV has developed is the presence of opportunistic infections. Opportunistic infections are diseases caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria that would not make a person with an undamaged immune system sick.
Infections and other conditions, such as certain cancers, resulting from severe immune system impairment are common.
HIV/AIDS, poverty and development
However, with successful antiretroviral therapy and some immune system recovery, many people with stage 3 HIV live long lives. This mobility has in part determined HIV transmission, particularly in Southern Africa where mobility is relatively high. The economies are also strained by the increasing demand for resources for care, prevention and treatment placed on health and other social services.
Demands for training and skills to replenish those lost to AIDS deaths also strain the economy. The failure of the economies to grow increases poverty among the populations of these countries. Consequently, the poor people feel the burden of the epidemic since they cannot afford the treatment and care, and they have to engage in behaviours that increase the risk levels.
Women, due to biological, social, economic and cultural factors, are more vulnerable to HIV infection than men. Young women are even more vulnerable to infection as they have their sexual experiences earlier than young men and in most cases with older men, who are already infected.
Women, particularly young ones and the elderly, are also more affected by the epidemic as they assume the largest burden of caring for those dying of AIDS and the orphans left behind. Young girls drop out of school to take care of sick relatives and orphaned siblings.
They are not empowered to negotiate safe sex or to refrain from engaging in risky sexual behaviours to sustain themselves.
These continuing inequalities play a significant role in the processes of HIV transmission to women. The first level relates to the growing number of child sexual abuses, a disturbing factor fueling the spread of the virus among young children, both females and males. The most worrying dimension to the increase in child sexual abuses is that some of the perpetrators are infected by the HIV virus and thus believe that sex with a virgin would cure them.
Media reports indicate that this tendency is not confined to South Africa, but also to some of the countries in the region. In some instances, these cases go unreported because the perpetrators are family members or individuals known to the families. Information on such abuses against children in the various African countries is not easily available to make an analysis of the extent of the problem. However, the foregoing report highlights the serious implications on child mortality rates.
Furthermore, the general economic decline in most African countries has changed societies such that the traditional safety nets of extended families and communities that used to exist for orphans decades ago are almost non-existent at present. The death of a parent or both parents at times mean the disintegration of the family unit, forcing young children to fend for themselves.
Many of these orphans drop out of school to form child headed households to look after their siblings or live on the streets until they reach adulthood. In cases where orphans are taken into the care of grandparents or relatives, their lives are never the same as these guardians may lack parenting capacities due to old age, lack of resources or lack of care. The trauma of losing parents as well as the lack of economic and educational opportunities and poor socialization could lead to anti-social behaviour such as crime, rebellion and prostitution.
These affected children grow up with less economic opportunities and become less productive in society as adults. The understanding of the impact of the epidemic on security has generally been confined to studies on the prevalence of the disease on military and police forces in relation to peacekeeping missions as well as on the spread of the epidemic among communities in conflict areas.
The impact of HIV/AIDS on human development in African countries
Considering the huge threat presented by the increasing number of people made vulnerable by AIDS, particularly orphans, it is essential to broaden the understanding. The Report provides a comprehensive definition of the concept.
The first element of the concept of human security relates to the safety of people from such chronic threats as hunger, disease and repression. The second refers to the protection of individuals from sudden and hurtful disruptions on the pattern of daily life — whether in homes, in jobs or in communities.
It means protecting people from critical and pervasive threats and situations, building on their strengths and aspirations. It also means creating systems that give people the building blocks of survival, dignity and livelihood. There is a great emphasis on the people, rather than on territories, which are traditionally associated with the security of the state.
However, insecurities of people at any level present threats to the stability of the state as an unstable state impacts on the personal security of its people.
The Commission on Human Security further stresses the need for conditions that are conducive to empower people to maximize their potential to make decisions and to freely participate in development.
The pandemic increases the vulnerability of children, thus eroding their personal security. The loss of parental protection exposes children to physical violence in the form of abuses, including sexual abuse. The common incidence of children infected by the HIV virus through sexual abuse is a case in point.
The loss of parental protection also enhances risks of psychological imbalances among traumatized children, seriously affecting their relations with society.