Impact of Hiv/Aids

HIV and AIDS are one of the most formidable challenges to human life and dignity, undermining social and economic development especially in sub-Saharan Africa. It has stripped families of their loved ones and hard earned income. To the economy, the damage is so extensive, there has been reduced productivity resulting in less gross domestic product. HIV and AIDS are very vicious challenge to human life as there is been no cure for the pandemic hence the number of deaths due HIV and AIDS related diseases is so high.

Sub-Saharan Africa on its own accounts for the highest number of HIV and AIDS prevalence. In this region is the most vicious strain of HIV, known as HIV1. It spreads a whole lot faster and is more infectious than HIV2. This problem is further exacerbated by poverty, poor nutrition, ignorance and lack of proper health care. People in developing countries progress from HIV to AIDS faster than people in developed countries. The immune systems of many people in developing countries have been weakened by diseases such as malaria parasites

HIV and AIDS have for a long time been associated with promiscuity resulting in discrimination of infected people. In the community, people with HIV and AIDS are often shunned in some cases were cast out of the community. No matter how much respectable a person was, once people discover they are infected, they lose that respect and dignity. In the home if for instance when the breadwinner is sick, they are stripped of their position as head of the family, they are often regarded as too sick to make decisions, meaning that they have lost their dignity.

Ignorance in our African society led to people believing that people living with HIV and AIDS have been cursed by the gods hence they were discriminated or banished from society. They would be discriminated; no one would touch them or talk to them. Discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS is counterproductive as it increases vulnerability to HIV infection and undermines efforts in response to the epidemic In work places such people are discriminated, at times demoted from their positions. People often do not want to be close or even share machinery or utensils with them.

They lose respect from their colleagues as they are considered promiscuous or too sick to work. Pity from workmates makes the infected person out of place and uncomfortable. The problem with dignity is that once lost is hard to regain if at all it is regained. This pandemic undermines social and economic development. HIV and AIDS being formidable challenges to human life, takes away our loved ones leaving children without parents. Once a bread winner dies children are left with no one to fend for them leading to children dropping out of school.

If the family can afford to take one of the children to school, the girl child suffers and the boys are educated. Children infected also lose school time while away from school. In cases where the teacher is the one who is sick, a lot of school time is lost as the teacher is away from school due to sickness. The disease also impacts on the school register, as children drop out of school due to death. Women in most cases are left to fend for their families and in most cases are unlearned and cannot find decent jobs so tend to be promiscuous so as to fend for their families.

This in essence means that they are spreading the disease to their clients. Cultural beliefs also come into play, as it in African practice only proper for a man to take his deceased brother’s wife as his. This means he is going to get infected and pass it onto his wife. The worst scenario is when the brother in law is in a polygamous relationship, meaning there are more wives that are going to be infected. It is not just the women that are at risk but the unborn children and those that are being breastfed.

HIV and AIDS can be passed on from parent to child during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. Many children are left orphaned leading to them resorting to child labour and child trafficking so as to get money. The girl child may be exploited by men sexually and given small tokens to keep them going. This means the exploited children are themselves at a risk of getting infected or infecting others if they are already infected. Orphans are forced to mature fast as they have to head the family at young age, meaning they skip some stages of childhood.

The girls are forced to prostitution and boys into being thieves. Some boys are sodomised for cash by men in society. AIDS increases household poverty and long term insecurity in the context of physical and emotional suffering bereavement. Where AIDS remains highly stigmatised, the psycho-social impact will be greatest and access to community and other support least. AIDS also often leads to mental and family conflict, arousing blame and suspicion regarding the source of infection and the cause of death.

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