HIV&AIDS in Africa and Its Social Effects


AIDS is a serious pandemic that still needs attention due to its devastating effects. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS varies from country to country. This prevalence is deemed to rise due to absence of massively expanded prevention, treatment and care programs in underdeveloped countries. This implies that impacts of AIDS will be strongly felt in African countries. HIV/AIDS has numerous impacts on individuals and entire nation. This paper will discuss the social effects of HIV/AIDS on certain segments of the population, issues revolving around different age groups and the prognosis of HIV/AIDS.

Social effects of HIV/AIDS

The social effects of HIV/AIDS are varied and include the following

The effects on households. A lot of families lose their breadwinners due to HIV and AIDS. People are forced to care for the sick members thus not getting enough time to work. As infected individuals retreat to their homes due to them not being able to work, they need care and support. In addition, those who die out of the disease leave orphans who need to be taken care of (Faussett & Ayles, 2003).

Prejudice. It is not uncommon to find people living with HIV being discriminated and prejudiced. This is due to lack of knowledge concerning HIV and its modes of transmission (Zungu, 2007). For instance, women and girls discriminated against in different areas including health, education and employment (Turmen, 2003).

Effects on age and sex structure. Age structure of populations from extremely affected countries is altered by AIDS related deaths. The disease strikes adults in their prime working age. This distorts the age structure in the affected countries. For instance, high AIDS mortality in South Africa occurs to persons aged between 20-49 years (Zungu, 2007). This has led to the number of youths going down in the country.

HIV/AIDS prognosis refers to the possible outcome of the pandemic. These include the duration of HIV/AIDS, complications of the infected persons, survival rates and death rates among others. HIV outcomes vary from one person to another depending on several factors. According to Faussett and Ayles (2003), children infected with HIV exhibit two general patterns of illnesses. They develop serious diseases in their first year of infection with some succumbing before seeing their fourth birthday. Majority of such children have low rate of disease progression. Moreover, many of such children develop AIDS symptoms during adolescence. They further explain that old people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS do not live longer than younger people who have the virus. It implies that prognosis of HIV varies with age. It also varies with gender in the sense that women have shorter survival chances as compared to men if they do not receive early treatment and care (Turmen, 2003).

Discrimination and stigmatization issues

Cases of stigmatization and discrimination against students suffering from HIV/AIDS have been reported across Africa. For instance, Tanzanian teachers have been found to be suspicious of HIV status of their students as well as questioning those found to use anti-retroviral drugs. This has led to such students not being able to concentrate with their studies making most of them drop out of school (Vijeyarasa, 2010). In Malawi, HIV is not taken lightly by the society. People found to suffer from it are stigmatized where no one accepts to be associated with them (De Waal, 2009). This has led to Malawians not willing to go for HIV test. Another country where people infected with HIV/AIDS have suffered from discrimination and stigmatization is Uganda. Those infected have been ousted from the society. This has made it hard for these people to access health services. Consequently, the victims suffer from low personal esteem leading to most of them succumbing to the disease at an early stage.

Reference List

De Waal, A. (2009). Reframing Governance, Security and Conflict in the Light of HIV/AIDS: A Synthesis of Findings from the AIDS, Security and Conflict Initiative. Social Science & Medicine, 70(2010), pp. 114-120.

Faussett, G. P. & Ayles, H. (2003). Can We Control Tuberculosis in High HIV Prevalence Settings? Tuberculosis, 83, pp. 68-76.

Turmen, T. (2003). Gender and HIV/AIDS. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 82, pp. 411-418.

Vijeyarasa, R. (2010). HIV-infected children face stigma, discrimination. Africa Files. Web.

Zungu, D. N. (2007). Social Determinants for HIV Prevalence among South African Educators. AIDS Care, 19 (10), pp. 1296-1303.

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