Between HIV and sanity of living is a very thin line. Especially in Africa, HIV/AIDS is one of the dreaded diseases of all times. It still doesn’t have a cure but there are managerial medicare and anti- retro-viral therapies rendered to the afflicted. It is also not in doubt that the African continent is not as affluent as other continents. This has affected the African standard of living which is not doing much good in redeeming the lives and future of the continent. As a traditionally conservative continent, Africa has inherent practices that have possibly spearheaded the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in many African nations- Polygamy, blood oaths, circumcision, gender inequality and child marriage.
With the accommodation of enlightenment, The 2010 UNAIDS reports that the rate of new infections has reduced in 22 countries and 12 others stabilized in sub-Saharan Africa. The truth of the mater is that there is not one country in Africa or the world at large that is free from HIV/AIDS, but the difference is that some countries manage it better than the others. In a naturally privileged continent like Africa, it is rather unfortunate that the quality of living diminishes the efforts made by patriots and devoted health workers in sensitizing and reaching out to people on the basis of rehabilitation and prevention. HIV/AIDS cases are predominant in Sub-Saharan and South Africa where the quality of living is not really like it should be. From several case studies and assessments of high risk groups in different African nations, it can emphatically be said that the spread of HIV/AIDS is greatly linked to poverty, crime and prostitution. Crime is the second nature of a frustrated and desperate mind.
In retrospect though, African countries were victims of crude imperialism which did rub off on the people. The ruffian tendencies and impoverished state of living we hope to heal but never forget it started as a result of colonialism. Africa is a continent of developing countries, and as such will be constantly battling with instability in the economy; and by extension telling negatively on the people. The slightest decline in the economy affects the potentials and course of achieving the HIV free generation. It is definitely not a far-fetched logic that people resort to several illegal practices to make ends meet. But as often said every bad habit has a negative health implication; Africa has proven this to be true with the current HIV prevalence rate in the continent.
1. South Africa
Prevalence Rate: 19. 1%
In 2012, The Human Sciences Research Council’s (HSRC) Survey made it public knowledge that the total number of infected South Africans increased by 1.2 million people. Presently there are about 6.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa with about 171 733 deaths, making it the highest prevalent rate in the world. This development is so disheartening as it is also true that over 25% of schoolgirls are infected; 28.8% and 36% of middle-aged men and women respectively, are also infected. The escalation of the virus has made South Africa a major country expansively patronizing the anti-retro-viral treatment (ART) programmes. In South Africa the carriers of this virus are mainly the young women, who should be healthy enough to nurture the future of the nation.
As much as the increased HIV/AIDS rate is blamed on the successful ART programme, crime and poverty also played their parts in it. Just before the world cup in South Africa, there was national debates to either protect or criminalize sex workers as they are believed to have helped the spread of the virus; worse still was the superstitious believe that intimacy with a virgin cures the virus. Consequently a lot of females became rape victims as well as infected with the virus. All these without a doubt sky rocketed the situation to the present degree. Though applauded for the reduction of poverty rate from 46.2% to 39%, millions of south Africans live in extreme penury. A direct consequence of this will be seen in the poor availability of health care in remote areas.
Prevalence Rate: 3.2%
Nigeria is a resounding name at any international occasion either for the good or the wrongest of reasons. The UNAID records that Nigeria has 3.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS with about 210,000 related deaths. 1.6 million Nigerian adults are infected; 400,000 children and an enormous 2 million orphaned children due to HIV/AIDS. The Nigerian children and future leaders are clearly at the receiving end of this pandemic. On the other hand, crime is not a respecter of essence. There were reported cases of anti- retroviral drug fraud where drugs that were supposed to be given freely to patients were on sale. The living conditions of the average Nigerian man is actually not enough to make him not consider criminal tendencies such as reaping already infected victims off, drug abuse, prostitution among others. Unemployment poses its own threat while insufficient funding dampens the various means of educating and enlightening people about this killer disease.
Prevalence Rate: 6.2%
Just like Nigeria, Kenya has about 1.1 million children orphaned as a result of the virus; 1.6 million people living with HIV and about 80,000 HIV related deaths. Kenya is guilty of gross tourism and children prostitution. Prostitution is a direct result of a failing national economy; it is the order of the day in Kenya. From the age of 12-14, children are being lured into the skill in order to obtain the basic needs of life. Desperate mothers and ladies are willing culprits of this crime as it is illegal in Kenya. With this on ground, sex trafficking is just one step away from the desperate teenage Kenyan girls. On the other hand, it is also known that the high rate of homosexual activities (also illegal) have contributed to a faster spread of this epidemic. While an illiterate who is really not on the bright side of life might be aware of what to do to promote his well-being, affordability of resources becomes another question.
Ignorance is not always an excuse for the turn out of awkward events in Kenya, rather it is the lack of means to acquire essential necessities. His psycho state is already as toxic as possible, up to the extent of seeking solace in drug abuse. A slum dweller is not necessarily interested in the prim and proper way of living, he basically wants to survive. That mindset alone is the motivation and blind justification for any crime committed during the process of fending for themselves. Unfortunately, this has not translated well in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and for Kenya’s well-being as a nation.
Prevalence Rate: 11.3%
In Mozambique, 57% of the 1.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS are women. Same old story – child prostitution and human trafficking both tower most in this country. The streets of Maputo are saturated with prostitutes who are patronized by long distance truck drivers who unfortunately have slimmer chances of being aware they are infected and need to be treated. It is believed that this trend has supported the escalation of HIV prevalence in the country. Migrants from Zimbabwe also form a huge number of women who come here with the assurance of making enough dollars from foreigners who visit, all in the bid of providing for themselves and their families. In 2012, the police discovered that some Mozambican girls were sold for as low as $2 while about 40 females were trafficked through the South African Borders for $1000.
Prevalence Rate: 5.6%
Sex Trade is also prevalent in Tanzania as it is recorded that 1 out of every 3 sex workers is HIV positive. Zanzibar is the most prominent spot for this transaction. There are 1.4 million infected people and 78, 000 deaths in Tanzania. With an inefficient health sector, not much can effectively be done to remedy the epidemic situation. There are inadequate resources to obtain standard health services in the country. The Tanzanian government seem to be worsening the matter by the weak attention given to such practices as drug injection and female circumcision. Drug injection is one sure means of being infected with the virus. Often times the needles are used and re-used on several other people. Such is also the case with the instruments used for the female genital mutilation. Current research has shown that the practice makes women more susceptible to contracting the virus alongside other health complications.