Monday, October 17, 2011

AIDS in Africa

Watching these videos I was caught off guard. I couldn’t seem to rationalize the concept of fish for sex. Many women who have lost their spouses to death whether it be from AIDS or natural causes, are forced to by fish from fishermen for money. But to guarantee they get fish women have to have sex with the fishermen. This idea to me is a bit out of whack; women who are just trying to make money to feed their family are forced into an environment to have sex for fish. Even after having sex the women have to compete for space on a bus to sell their fish at the market.  In order to guarantee a spot in the bus women have sex with the bus drivers. So not only are women having sex for fish, but also for a place on a bus so they can sell the fish. Once the women get to the market,  they have to find a merchants to cell their fish too. Now many women will have sex with the merchants too, to garuentee their fish are bought. So essentially women have to have sex with 3 different men to gurantee they receive fish, space for the bus, and for their fish to be sold. This cycle is absurd, women shouldn’t have to have sex to get money for fish. In my eyes its degrading towards women and are being used because they have no one to support and protect them. Also they are not only at risk for not getting a guarantee for fish but also they have to worry about chatching HIV/Aids on top of that. Which adds more complications to the matter.
There are numerous reasons that HIV/AIDS affects so much more of the African population than the US population. To start with, the US is not as poor of a country as Africa; the poverty level in the US is much higher. The US has a better economy and stable government. The government offers healthcare for millions of people, and also offers health insurance and Medicare. The US also has more resources available for people to have physical exams as well as medical testing. Because of this, the US has been able to overcome the many obstacles of HIV and AIDS; they were able to create antibiotics to help fight and prevent the disease.  In the early 80’s, millions of people were being infected with virus, and doctors did not have the knowledge to handle it. Only through time of research and numerous studies they were able to understand the virus better, and learn new ways to prevent its rapid spread.
In Africa, however, they do not have the same luxuries as the US. The African government is very weak, as well as the economy. The government itself is not unified, and does not devote time or resources to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.  They lack both the funding and support to offer the African people the proper healthcare and knowledge that could help prevent the virus.  Without the proper recourses such as health clinics and hospitals, it is hard to cure the vastly growing population diagnosed with AIDS. 28 million people are infected with AIDS, many of whom are not even aware they have it.  This is largely due to the lack of resources. In addition to a scarcity of clinics and hospitals, there is also not enough AIDS awareness. There is not sufficient education on HIV and AIDS to help inform African people and make them aware of the disease. Many African people think that HIV is a curse and pay little attention to the seriousness of the virus.  This lack of education is detrimental to the population; it is critical to be extremely conscious and informed of AIDS to help prevent it from spreading.

My knowledge about AIDS in Africa was limited before watching these videos. I knew that AIDS was spreading rapidly throughout the country, infecting millions of Africans.  I did not, however, know how deeply it impacted the population. Knowing that Africa was a poor country, I was able to conclude that there were little resources that people could use to try to prevent or contain the virus.  Along with being a poor country with a weak economy, I understood many women turned to prostitution. They offered up their bodies for sex so they could get money. In many instances they did so without using condoms, which only increased the chances of spreading AIDS.
The culture of Africa plays a big role in the affect AIDS has on people.  There are many cultures in which the men have multiple wives. If the man becomes infected with AIDS, it is very likely that he will spread the disease to each of his wives.  All so in some cultures they do not believe or will not use condoms which can increase the risk of HIV/ AID.
There are many solutions in helping prevent AIDS in Africa.  Other countries such as Uganda and Thailand have executed their own strategies in preventing the disease.  I believe that Africa can learn from the ideas used by these countries to help inform and prevent AIDS. In Uganda, the president traveled across the country making speeches about HIV and AIDS and how serious the virus is. He tried to inform his people directly with messages of abstinence, being faithful to your partner, and if you couldn’t follow those two then he promoted the use of condoms and safe sex. The president also created AIDS awareness programs that traveled around the country performing plays while providing entertainment to help educate people and make them more conscious of AIDS. These techniques proved to be extremely effective in preventing of and informing the population about the virus.
The prime minister of Thailand acted in a similar fashion.  He started programs informing people of safe sex and Aids awareness. These groups distributed condoms in efforts to promote safe sex. He also had banners, informational posters and guides throughout the cities to inform and educate the population. Lastly, he forced every radio and TV station to broadcast 30 seconds of AIDS information. These efforts decreased the spread of AIDS in Thailand by over 50 percent.   Because of this blatant success, it would be wise for Africa to use the same approach. If they started more organizations and groups to travel around the country, they would be able to educate a very large number of people.  In addition to informing the public on ways to prevent AIDS, it would be beneficial to promote the ideas of abstinence, faithfulness, and safe sex; the outcome should be similar to those in Uganda and Thailand. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog Evan and like your reaction to these videos.