Aids And Africa Essay Research Paper The — страница 2

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of HIV transmission in Africa are heterosexual, mother-to-child, and transfusions with unscreened blood. In addition, prostitution and cultural sexual practices greatly influence the increase in transmission rates. Transfusions, though, are now being screened in most major urban areas and therefore are not as threatening as they once were. Homosexuality and i.v. drug use are not associated with AIDS or considered factors in the transmission of the virus. This, however, is not to imply that they are not factors in transmission but rather, at this time, not much is known about homosexuality in African countries. However, we do know that anal intercourse is considered abhorrent for a variety of reasons, including its connection with witchcraft, and is almost completely suppressed in

much of sub-Saharan Africa. Without considering i.v. drug use as a factor primarily because injected opiates are too expensive, we can not reject transmission by needles in general. African patients often prefer needle injections to oral medication because they believe it to be more effective. With that in mind, and the common re-use of needles due to lack of adequate supplies, one can see the danger and high risk associated with the practice. In addition, it has apparently been common to reuse needles in vaccinating children. And finally, ritual scarring may play some part in the spread of the virus. Africa has an incredible high prevalence rate among prostitutes in all countries. ?Prostitutes are at high risk for HIV-1 infection and are recognized worldwide as transmitters of

HIV-1? (Bethel, 149). Prostitutes, having large numbers of partners, are naturally at greater risk, but this pattern fits the following larger social model in addition to providing the explanation for HIV and AIDS cases migrating out from rural to urban locations. Many unmarried rural women saw no means of adequate support for a family in addition to family conflict leading them to migrate to the city at a young age. With women?s desire to survive in an environment where they are rarely employed in wage labor or other ?legitimate? jobs, they become prostitutes in order to earn a living. ?AIDS first struck the labor concentrations in Uganda and then moved outward to the labor reserves, carried by migrant laborers and prostitutes as they return to their birthplaces for care and

assistance with illnesses consequent to infection with this virus? (Bethel, 151). Consequently, the virus is then spread throughout small villages and urban communities. In studies of prostitutes in the town of Rakai, an area of major labor concentration, nearly 86 percent were HIV-1 positive. One study tested 535 Nairobi prostitutes in January 1985 and found that 348, or 65 percent of them were HIV-positive. Of remaining 185, by 2 years later 120 of them had become HIV-positive. Thus of the original 535 prostitutes in 1985, 504 or 94 percent, were HIV-positive by 1987. Condom use among prostitutes in infrequent. Only 23 percent of prostitutes say they have ever used condoms. The customers are said to refuse to wear one and there is a lot of competition from other prostitutes who

will not require it. The AIDS belt mentioned earlier as the area of highest prevalence of AIDS cases on the continent, is also the area where a system of migrant labor was historically developed in Africa. ?The migrant labor system provides routes of infection and transmission which radiate out from the labor concentration to the labor reserve areas throughout the country which provides not only a vulnerable population but also an efficient mode of spread and transmission? (Bethel, 152). ?It is clear that traditional sexual practices by African men, as well as the widespread custom of genitally mutilating a large part of the female population, are responsible for the different pattern of AIDS transmission? (Bethel, 46). However, ?the complex mesh of factors associated with the

disease means that currently there is no way to ascertain the relative importance of the various methods of transmission? (Bethel, 49). For example, it is difficult and unknown whether a prior history of sexually transmitted diseases is a risk factor because genital lesions facilitate the transmission of HIV or because of exposure to unsterilized needles for treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. Altogether, 2.7 million children have died of AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. By the end of 1997, an additional million were estimated to be living with the disease, half of them were infected that year alone. There is certainly a gap between rich and poor countries and their mother-infant transmission rates. For example, in France and the United States, fewer than 5