AIDS IN AFRICA ( )

Iulia Pariniuc

Stoneleigh-Burnham School
Posted on 05/27/01


                       AIDS IN AFRICA:
      AIDS is becoming one of the most important problems of the modern
world. According to AIDS Epidemic Update 2000 and the World Health
Organization (WHO), the current number of people living with HIV or AIDS is
36.1 million, more than 50% higher than predicted in 1991. And this number
is increasing every day, hour and minute. The greatest number of
inhabitants sick with AIDS or HIV live in Africa. Over17 million Africans
have already died of AIDS-three times the number of AIDS deaths in the rest
of the world, orphaning 10 million or more African children. The AIDS
situation in Africa is catastrophic and sub-Saharan Africa continues to
head the list as the worlds most affected region, said Peter Piot,
Executive Director of UNAIDS. According to his report, estimated 3.8
million people became infected with HIV in sub Saharan Africa during the
year, bringing the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the
region to 25.3 million, or almost a million more than in 1999.
       The reason of such great spread of the disease is inadequate level of
living and absence of needed education. According to WHO, more than 50% of
African population does not live a safe sexual life, and the increase of
number of drugs deteriorate the problem. For example, according to Ministry
of Health statistics, 2.2 million Kenyans are ill with HIV, with average
500 deaths every day.
      African medics do not want to show medical results to their patients
and to the government. They say that they do not reveal HIV results to
prevent the patients from fear of bad news. Some patients literally die
hopelessly before their eyes, they said. Another problem is that when
some patients learn they are HIV positive, they go on their rampage,
despite the counseling we give them, said Matulumbu, an HIV/AIDS
specialist. The doctor, like his colleagues, said a number of patients even
took loans while others mortgaged family assets to use the money to spread
the disease. Such patients left their families double dilemma. Dr.
Matulumbu said: We are facing a serious problem because medics are not
trained on how to counsel HIV patients, yet we are expected to be a
counselor and a doctor at the same time.
      The patients,  HIV and AIDS positive express discontent about the
doctors curing them. If the owner of the factory, a sick African is working
for, finds out that the worker is sick, he automatically dismiss him from
his work job. The owners of the companies do not want to deal with
insurance of sick workers, and do not want to employ HIV/ADIS patients. The
reality is sad, but it is true. Patients hide their results of HIV/AIDS
tests, and it is difficult to determine the number of sick Africans.
      AIDS is not a disease that can be either determined or cured. The real
number of people with HIV positive is not known. Some of them do not want
to talk about the disease, others simply do not know they are sick.
       To help in preventing AIDS, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his
speech at UN conference for Least Developed Countries, proposed to organize
a global AIDS fund to sponsor the fight against AIDS. The worlds wealthy
nations are allegedly holding off donations to a proposed UN global health
fund, arguing, there are not enough guarantees that the money would be
spend correctly, the Associated Press said on May 19, 2001. Reporting from
the UN conference for Least Developed Countries in Brussels, AP said that
"many countries" remained skeptical about UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's
proposed US $7-10 billion fund to fight the spread of AIDS and other
infectious diseases. It quoted Poul Nielson, the European Union's (EU)
development commissioner as asking: "What will this fund do better than
what we are doing now?". "If we are just talking about a global AIDS fund,
we will not participate. It is too narrow," he added. The EU reportedly
wants the fund to include other transmittable diseases and tie it to
providing cheaper drugs for poorer countries.
The United States is the only large country to contribute to the global
fund so far, pledging US $200 million last week. That contribution was
criticized by, among others, the US-based Health Gap Coalition as "paltry".
The coalition called for Washington to allocate US $2 billion in new money.
(See www.healthgap.org)
      Annan said on Thursday in Geneva that the proposed fund would be a
major tool for economic growth in the developing countries. He said that
plans for the fund are progressing. He noted that the fund should be
governed by an independent board, made up of stakeholders including
governments from both donor and developing countries, NGOs, the private
sector and the United Nations. The running of the fund should be done
through a small secretariat, which would draw on a technical advisory body
made up of international experts in the fields of health and development.
Addressing concerns that the proposed fund would pull money away from
existing health programs, Annan stressed that the fund must be additional
to existing funds and mechanisms, not just a new way of channeling money
that is already earmarked for development.
      Although working, the efforts of the United Nations are not enough
without actual financial support they ask for. There is still a great need
in money and people to fight AIDS in African countries. The UN pledges for
the support from economically developed countries to help less developed
ones. It is extremely important that the society fights this crucial
disease, for it does not belong only to Africans, but to all the
inhabitants of the earth. Therefore it is everyones problem. People with
HIV/AIDS did not choose to be sick. It is time to start helping them before
it is too late.





"AIDS IN AFRICA ( ) "