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AIDS & poverty

AIDS & poverty

By: D. Jan W de Lind | Mar 31, 2009 | 617 words | 498 views
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The global HIV/AIDS pandemic is already having devastating social and economic consequences.  Gains in life expectancy over the past half century have been reversed in the worst-affected countries.  Infant mortality and adult mortality have increased by more than 50 per cent in a few countries.  Population structures in some of the worst-affected African countries are now being transformed from the traditional pyramid shape to a chimney shape, reflecting the disproportionate death rate among the younger sexually active cohorts.  HIV/AIDS also threatens to reverse the progress that economies have made in many poor countries.  Households and families are being impoverished by the disease on a massive scale as they lose their productive members, incur the costs of treating HIV-related opportunistic infections and bury their dead.

Two major issues that continue to cause serious concern in Asia is the large-scale mobility of people within and across national borders and trafficking of women and children. Estimates show that more than 200 million people are constantly on the move in Asia, a number that is poised to increase with the rapid but uneven economic growth, pockets of affluence, infrastructure development, free trade zones and flourishing sectors such as tourism and transport. With more than half of the new infections occurring among people of 15-24 years of age, many of who are mobile, appear vulnerable. Within the context of mobility, the unequal gender dimensions render women several times more vulnerable and often lead to their being trafficked.

HIV/AIDS is closely connected to poverty and gender inequality.  Poverty and lack of economic opportunities march hand in hand with HIV/AIDS, particularly for women.  Gender discrimination in access to economic opportunities drives some women to sell sex to support themselves and their families, and a few are forcibly traded into the international commercial sex industry.  Gender inequalities in sexual relations mean that many women have little or no control over the sexual behaviours of their male partners, increasing their risk of HIV infection through no fault of their own.  HIV/AIDS is a cause of poverty as well, driving many families into desperation as a result of the loss of economically active members and expenses of care for HIV-related illnesses and family burials.

The epidemic is growing most rapidly among women and poor populations. The HIV/AIDS researcher Mr. Mohammad Khairul Alam said, “Several social norms and immature behavior fueled of this disease to scatter rapidly. There are several social components link to develop this harmful situation. Poverty-behind to force it, Gender discrimination plays a vital role; Frustration & risk behavior help to sink humanity resulting infection. The link between poverty & gender discrimination are help to decline socio economic prosperity. This link creates several anti social poisonous issues also. Such as trafficking to prostitute, sell sex for earn or living, break down family norm to create frustration and driven drug point. We notice easily that Illiteracy is the main watchword of all circumstance. So it is not easy to remove it from the society, several programs & strategies are needed to gain sustainable position”.

Despite the huge numbers that have been infected with HIV and have died from AIDS, the epidemic is still largely hidden.  Stigma, discrimination and ignorance still characterize the disease.  So most people who are infected with HIV do not know they carry the virus, do not want to know, and do not want others to know.  As a result, they are unlikely to adopt behaviours that will stop them infecting others.  Partly because of the hidden nature of the epidemic, accurate data on trends and levels of HIV infection in countries is limited and unreliable.  Very few representative cohort studies of HIV incidence, which are vital to evidence-based planning and evaluation, are being undertaken in developing countries.

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