The AIDS epidemic has been a tremendous problem in many countries of the world for a long period of time. The severity of the epidemic fluctuates from one region to another; however, it remains an issue of international importance which has not experienced too much progress in finding a global solution for the AIDS. The main focus of the paper will be the analysis of the causes and spread of the AIDS epidemic on the African continent, along with possible methods to finding solutions to diminish the epidemic.
Theories about the Origins of AIDS on the African Continent
There are many theories about the origins of AIDS on the African continent. However, the most known cause of AIDS in the early years of its existence is attributed to the chimpanzees. In particular, it is believed that AIDS was transmitted from the chimpanzees to people through the consumption of their meat. Other assumptions about the origins of HIV/AIDS include the travel of the virus through the waters of one river to the others. Consequently, the virus began to be found in the human bodies by the 1930 on a greater scale. It is quite difficult to find complete statistics on the disease for Africa; however, some of the data makes it clear that the virus is most predominant in the urban settings and around the transportation routes. Nowadays, the main cause of AIDS is the practice of unsafe sex of couples which accounts for 93% of the cases in Africa, followed by the transmission of AIDS via blood transfusions and from mother to fetus. A noticeable difference between the infected populations of Africa as compared to the United States is on the same level for men and women in Africa and is usually positively related to their economic well-being rather than negatively as in the developed countries. There are many other causes of AIDS which include poor living standards, lack of education and efficient health care practices, insufficient resources to improve the population's knowledge about safe sex and better sanitary habits. A record 23.8 million HIV infected persons live on the African continent which represents over 70 % of the total number of infected people worldwide. This is an extremely high number for one continent and better ways of solving this eminent problem must be found before it will be too late (Shakil 2).
Even though the governments of the African continent refused to acknowledge the existence of AIDS as a fundamental issue, there has been seen much progress in the area of solution finding. As Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, noted there were more deaths between 1999 and 2000 from AIDS in Africa than from all the wars on the continent. The statistics indicate that the majority of HIV infected people are located in the Sub-Saharan part of Africa. The region accounts for 69 % of all the people with HIV on the planet and 70 % of the deaths related to HIV. This kind of record death tolls has direct negative impacts on the economies of most African countries. Therefore, the involvement of the well-developed countries in the fight against HIV and AIDS has had positive responses for the indigenous population. The collective help efforts of the leading developed countries plus the correct involvement of the local governments in the process of ameliorating the AIDS situation on the African continent has shown positive results in recent years. The statistics presented by the UNAIDS for 2013 enunciate that the number of persons receiving HIV treatment increased seven times in the period from 2005 to 2012 alone. Also, the number of AIDS related deaths decreased by 33 % during a six year term which proves the use of solutions directed towards the fight against AIDS (McElrath 23).
Solutions to the Problem of AIDS
There are numerous solutions to the problem of AIDS that are available; however, choosing the most appropriate ones that will benefit the particular region presents certain difficulties. The core problem related to addressing the solutions for AIDS have never been taken seriously enough and the lack of fast action contributed to the spread of the disease on a big scale. Fast responses to the fight against the disease were too few, too small, had the wrong focus and did not apply the true evidence available. Even today there are many programs with the wrong kind of planning and implementation. One possible solution in stopping the AIDS epidemic before it turns into a pandemic that could destroy the economic and social stability of the African continent is to begin on smaller scales that would focus on one specific region at a time. The increase of the public awareness of the epidemic in Africa played a positive role in trying to resolve the problem of AIDS. The core solution to preventing AIDS is better education. There is only 64% of the children in Africa attend school, and the regions with the highest prevalence of AIDS experience an even lower percentage of children who go to school. In accordance to the research conducted by UNAIDS, it was established that young women who lack education are more likely to get infected with HIV. Thus, educating the children about the sexual life and all the sexually transmitted diseases plays an important role at lowering the number of the future infected persons. Furthermore, educating the population about safe sex and condom use has shown positive improvements which lowered the number of HIV and other sexually transmitted disease cases. Among other research that should be mentioned there has been noticed a major decrease in the prevalence of AIDS spread among men in rural regions of the country and evidence that curing diseases may reduce the extent of HIV. However, as Lamptey noted in the research on the AIDS on the African continent a vast majority of the interventions have been conducted on an experimental level only and have not been sufficient yet to the extent that it could reverse the course of the epidemic. On a similar scale, the discovery of an effective vaccine or treatment would be the perfect solution for the epidemic all over the world. However, the divulgence of a vaccine has always been prohibited by a variety of scientific, ethical, and most of all economic obstacles and neither will be ever allowed in our society that is governed by greed and destruction of the lower classes of society (Cohen 45).
Another demanding matter that would serve as a solution to preventing the epidemic of AIDS is to provide better medical facilities for the African people. The need for trained medical staff and more hospitals especially in the high risk regions is the number one solution to the spread of AIDS on the continent. Africa receives lots of financial help from different well developed countries around the world; however, this aid does not always get to the people who truly need it. Therefore, a few monitoring agencies of the aid that is being sent to Africa should be created in order to assure that the resources are used for the intended population. The financial resources must be directed towards providing a sufficient amount of vaccines and antiretroviral drugs for children. It has been proven that children who are vaccinated in a timely manner live longer and only a low 10% of all infected children are receiving the vaccines presently. In a recent study conducted by WHO it was concluded that male circumcision will lower the risk of getting HIV through sex. The experiments showed that, provided the patient was circumcised by trained professionals in a hospital setting, circumcision diminished the spreading of HIV by 60% as a whole. This new approach must be done in accordance to all the sanitary normative and should be used as part of the comprehensive fighting strategies against AIDS. Of course, there are some cultural and religious issues that must be dealt with, before this measure could be effectively utilized in all the regions. Once again, this example brings us back to the conclusion that educating the population about prevention, treatment and life with AIDS remains the number one strategy in finding the best solutions against the horrific disease (Kannangara 1).
The continuous spread of AIDS in Africa is an urgent matter and must be addressed as soon as possible in a more industrious way
The deadly epidemic has been striking the continent for many years and the future amelioration of the spread cannot be tolerated much longer. International agencies that send aid for this cause must control the distribution of the aid and make sure that the African local governments use the aid for the intended scopes. If the spread of AIDS remains at the constant rate, than the African countries will suffer dramatic loss of population, decrease in the economic well-being, falls in the tourism and future government debts as well. AIDS is a global problem and it must be solved at any cost since it may affect the entire world at one point.
Cohen, Trussel. Preventing and Mitigating AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1996
Kannangara. What Can Be Done to Stop the Spread of AIDS Among African Children?. Retrieved from https://www.york.cuny.edu/academics/writing-program/the-york-scholar-1/volume-5.2-spring-2009/what-can-be-done-to-stop-the-spread-of-aids-among-african-children
McElrath. HIV and AIDS: A global view. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.
Shakil. HIV/AIDS: How Sub-Saharan Africa Can Win the Battle. The International Magazine, October 1, 2011.