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The HIV/AIDS pandemic

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The HIV/AIDS pandemic in the Developing World Pandemic is a large scale epidemic affecting more than one country. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was first clinically diagnosed in the early 1980s but retrospective diagnosis suggests it existed well before this date. AIDS is caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) of which there are several strains. AIDS is a syndrome (a collection of signs and symptoms) which develops from an impaired ability to fight disease i.e. it undermines the bodies defences against viruses, infections and malignancies. According to UN, at the end of 2004, 39.4million people in the world were living with HIV/AIDS, 4.9million people acquired it and 3.1million people died because of it. Approximately 95% of those suffering from HIV/AIDS live in the developing world. In 2004, 65% of sufferers were living in Africa, south of the Sahara. The infection rate is estimated at 8% of all adults compared with 1% world rate and more than 13million Africans have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS since it was identified. It has become the main cause of death in Africa killing more people than malaria and warfare. Global Diffusion of HIV/AIDS Medical geographers have concluded that the HIV/AIDS spread in a hierarchical diffusion pattern from a hearth area in Central Africa in the late 1970s. ...read more.


This rate is likely to have increased by now. This means that after about 20years, some of the African economies will be 20% smaller than would have been in the absence of HIV/AIDS. 2) Size of the labour force: The high death rates due to HIV/AIDS clearly have a negative effect on the size of the labour force. HIV/AIDS is most prevalent among the young and those of the working age groups. This means that many of the leaders of economic development become ill thus hampering economic progress. According to UNAIDS, Barclays Bank in Zambia lost most of its senior managers to HIV/AIDS in the early years of this century. The power shortage in Zambia recently reflects the illness of HIV/AIDS amongst the electrical engineers. The size of the labour force afflicted by HIV/AIDS is reduced further by the "brain drain". 3) Effectiveness of the labour force: Skills within the labour force are depleted because of poor attendance in schools due to pressures of HIV/AIDS. Absenteeism is widespread and labour turnover is high. Consequently, training costs are high. Productivity in the labour force is reduced when many of its members are unwell. 4) Output levels: Because productivity is lowered, output is likely to be lowered and to become more expensive. ...read more.


Disruptive elements: HIV/AIDS often frequently congregate in cities such as Nairobi, Johannesburg and are amongst the street children of the South American countries like Brazil. These children are violent and they experience violence all around. They have been widely recruited into armies. The need to take family responsibility: HIV/AIDS orphans frequently have to look after siblings. Child headed households are becoming frequent. Many governments will not recognise these and will not support them with grants. Usually the heads of the household cannot inherit the property. Sociological difficulties: Many HIV/AIDS victims suffer from extreme trauma by seeing parents are relatives die before them. Low education attainment: HIV/AIDS orphans are less likely to attend schools and this had long-term effect on employment potential. Other problems associated with HIV/AIDS are demographic implications, pressures on the education system and pressures on the healthcare service. Conclusion HIV/AIDS is undoubtedly going to be a long-term problem but the situation is a little more optimistic that 5years ago. This is a result of the following: 1) Governments of many LDCs have moved out from the state of denial and now there is a much more political commitment to address the problems of HIV/AIDS. 2) International anti-HIV/AIDS programs have become larger and more coherent. 3) The cost of producing the drugs needed to treat HIV/AIDS has fallen dramatically over recent years. ...read more.

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