|by Ken Auma|
|Published on: May 30, 2007|
|HIV/AIDS is for real!! This is the ONLY disease that man sweats to acquire. Either knowingly and unknowingly.
People infected with HIV/AIDS live in nearly every country in the world. In some countries, like Botswana and Swaziland, almost 40% of the population has HIV/AIDS.
The virus continues to spread. Epidemics have erupted in China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, several Central Asian Republics and the Baltic States.
HIV/AIDS is not just a health problem, but also a development problem. How? By spreading fast mostly to young people and working-age adults, HIV/AIDS affects the economy, society, family and schooling in a country, weakening the country as a whole.
When 8% or more of a population becomes infected with HIV, the growth of the economy slows down, according to a World Bank study. This is because the labor force gets reduced and demands on the already overwhelmed government, economic and health care systems increase.
Poor countries are particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS because:
* They often don't have good resources to treat and help HIV patients.
* Their health care systems are most likely already overburdened (or aren't well developed).
* This makes it nearly impossible to provide expensive treatment to a growing HIV-infected population.
* HIV/AIDS medication is often very expensive, not available everywhere in the world and poor countries can't afford it.
* Basic care and treatment for a HIV/AIDS patient can cost as much as 2–3 times per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in the poorest countries.
* Resources for educating the public about risky behavior (which often leads to HIV infections) are equally limited.
* People and societies in general are often reluctant to talk about risky behavior because it touches upon societal taboos and often goes against societal norms.
A growing number of children are orphaned by AIDS. In Africa alone, 13 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. The number of AIDS orphans could jump to 25 million by 2010, according to the United Nations. These orphans are less likely to attend school, receive good nourishment or proper health care.