Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
AIDS in Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa is currently the area where AIDS is taking the largest toll. Some of these countries now have around 25% of the working adult population who are HIV-positive - in 1999 Botswana had an estimated 35.8% (source World Press Review) but the latest United Nations estimates in early 2002 that Botswana had a 38.8% rate, Zimbabwe a 33.7% rate and Lesotho 31%. As of 2004 Swaziland has overtaken Botswana with a estimated 40% rate. Lesotho, at 29%, now has the third highest prevalence rate.
Without the kind of nutrition, health care and medicines, such as Anti-RetroVirals (ARV's) that are readily available in developed countries, large numbers of people in these countries will begin to develop full-blown AIDS. They will not only be unable to work, but will also require significant medical care. It is forecast that this will likely cause a collapse of economies and societies in the region, further increasing the suffering and hardship faced. In some heavily infected areas, the epidemic has left behind many orphans being cared for by elderly grandparents. UNAIDS, WHO and UNDP have already documented decreasing life expectancies and lowering of GNP in many Africa countries with prevalence rates of 10% or more.
Many governments in the region continued to deny that there was a problem for years, and are only now starting to work towards solutions. Lack of money is the core reason why most AIDS deaths occur in Third World countries. There is a need for large amounts of money in all of the areas of prevention of the disease: education, health-care, employment, and treatment.
Social movements in countries like South Africa, as well as international development agencies such as Oxfam, have insisted that developing countries should be permitted to manufacture cheap, generic copies of patented AIDS medicines, a move generally resisted by the pharmaceutical companies of developed countries.
Scientific studies have suggested that AIDS spread initially in West Africa, but it is possible that there were several separate "initial sources".
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO)
- Starfish Foundation
- Dream for Africa
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