Essay SCO 187

Submitted By veenu85
Words: 1540
Pages: 7

Nuu, Vee
SOC 187

HIV/AIDS in Africa

According to the UN Millennium Goals, disease and poverty should be readily declining because of their goals in efforts in eradicating the two. Then why in 2007 is there still devastation in Africa because of HIV/AIDS and poverty? Many of us would like to think that the problem lies within Africa and that they doing something wrong. But, according to the readings by Whiteside, Cheru, and Baylies, if we take a closer look we can see that Africa has many outside factors pressing upon it that don’t allow any development or progress within the nation. It is not only economic devastation that is ravaging Africa, but rather the monumental decrease in human capital as well. There is a mutual relationship between HIV/AIDS and poverty: while HIV/AIDS causes poverty, poverty is one of the factors that make people more susceptible to HIV/AIDS. Not only does this disease exacerbate poverty, but it also has a crucial if not devastating impact on the household and the community in many ways. It is also imperative to know what the impact of neocolonialism – the policies by creditor countries and financial institutions—has had on the availability of treatment for those infected with HIV/AIDS. It is also important to show that their policies also lead to extreme poverty, hunger, and minimized if not completely cut the health care and education available. We must also recognize the devastating effect that HIV/AIDS has on women because of their increased vulnerability to the disease including gender issues, which make them more susceptible, and thus increases their chance of becoming infected. Fantu Cheru’s article opens the discussion on HIV/AIDS by providing some desolate and horrific statistics. Cheru mentions that of the 36 million people that live in the world today that are infected with HIV/AIDS, over 25 million live in Africa, and to be more specific in Sub-Saharan Africa (Cheru, 300). It is atrocious that the pandemic has reached such levels, but it is important to note that the blame cannot solely be placed on the African government for the high incidence. Cheru mentions that the indebtedness of Africa is what really prevents the government in Africa to better serve the needs of their people. It’s not only because of the debt that this is happening, but rather the policies surrounding the repayment of the debt. Cheru clearly articulates that the massive transfer of resources from poor African countries to the wealthy Northern creditors is one of the factors that has critically weakened health care and education in countries that are worst affected by the pandemic (Cheru 300). Cheru goes on to discuss the effects of AIDS on households, explaining that where there are one or more people infected with HIV, savings along with consumption are quickly depleted, leading to extreme poverty for many families. If it is an adult that is infected, the disease causes times of sickness where the person may not be able to work, and if it is a self-sustaining family then their entire livelihood is in danger. Their money is also quickly spent on health care costs on medicine and trips to the doctor (Cheru 301). Cheru makes a good point when he states that the international indifference toward this pandemic should be viewed in the context of a “global apartheid”. This is because the access to live saving medicine is largely determined by race, class, gender and geography (Cheru 301). It is not only about the economic losses, as many of the countries that have the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS are also losing human capital at a more rapid rate. Many of the people dying of the disease leave many families that can’t fend for themselves, especially if it is the male head of the household. The labor force is also affected if the person that is infected lives in the city because soon he will have to be replaced due to his illness. Employers view this as a loss because it will be money they lost on the