Hogtying HIV

The HIV Epidemic in Africa

What is HIV?

HIV is the most deadly killer disease in Africa. In 2010, there were 22.9 MILLION reported infected adults and children, living with HIV in Africa. This number is small as there are many Africans that do not have access to medical care to report their infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This is the virus that leads to AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. "There are two types of HIV, HIV-1 and HIV-2" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). According to the book Fighting the HIV and AIDS Epidemic: A Global Battle by Maurene Hinds, when referring to HIV, especially in Africa, it is usually HIV-2. There are three stage of HIV infection. The first stage is the acute infection stage, which is sudden onset, and when all the symptoms appear. This followed by the asymptomatic stage, which is when symptoms are not available. The final stage is the advanced HIV disease stage, or the AIDS stage. This is the stage that kills as it weakens the body's immune system, making a patient susceptible to even the common cold as a deadly disease.

What are the Causes of and History Behind HIV?

There are many theories as to the start of the HIV virus. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Scientists have identified a type of chimpanzee in western Africa as the most likely source of HIV infections in humans. They believe that a chimpanzee virus known as SIV was transferred to human and mutated into HIV." Please see the picture to your left to see what this chimpanzee species looks like. There are many ways in which HIV can be transmitted from human to human. "The primary ways that HIV can be transmitted are: unsafe sexual practices, contact or transfer of infected bodily fluids, being stuck with a contaminated needle, eating food that has been pre-chewed by an HIV infected individual, or getting bitten by an HIV-infected patient." (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). This means that HIV can enter a person through the digestive tract, as with the pre-chewed food. It can also be transferred through the respiratory tract if some particles of the HIV virus are inhaled or through the skin such as with an infected (shared) needle, commonly when using drugs. HIV can also be transmitted from mother to child during childbirth. The final and PRIMARY way that HIV can be transferred is through the genital and/or anal canal during unsafe sexual practices.

What are the Effects of HIV on an Infected Patient?

One of the main effects of HIV is the fact that it causes AIDS. This is stage three in the disease and is the potentially deadly stage as it weakens the body's immune system making it much more susceptible to small infections that normally wouldn't make a person sick. However, in an AIDS patient, these small infections, known as opportunistic infections, could make the patient severely sick or possibly kill them. Another effect on the patient is the fact that many patients become emanciated as their body cannot absorb the nutrients it needs effectively.

What are the Effects of HIV on Africa?

I believe that HIV is one thing that is holding back many of Africa's countries from becoming 1st world countries. This is because the treatment for HIV is so expensive that it drives many people into poverty. This is because the medicine used to treat HIV, antiretrovirals, are very expensive, commonly ranging anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 per patient per year. In the Below video you will see a woman who is HIV positive in Africa and learn about the challenges she faces.

Another effect that HIV has on Africa is strain on the healthcare system there. Hospitals in Africa are understaffed as it is and if they have many HIV patients, they are not able to give each patient the time they need for care.
Poverty in Africa - The face of HIV and AIDS

What are the solutions to HIV?

I believe the number one solution to HIV is education. This is because if people know the causes and the ways that HIV is spread, they can avoid these risky behaviors. Avoiding risky behaviors is actually recommended as the number one way to prevent the spread of HIV by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that everyone between ages 13 and 64 get tested for HIV. They also recommend that people be involved in a mutually monogamous relationship to prevent the spread of HIV.

One Last Thing............

One last thing:
The creator of this website would like to say thank you to all the wonderful doctors, nurses and other volunteers that help people like Monica from the video earlier who are living with HIV and helping to educate others on HIV and how to prevent it by dedicating the following song, "Keep Changing The World", originally by Christian artist Mikeschair. Thank you for your efforts.


Keep Changing the World by 220bmusic

This Site Created By:

Andrew E. Langley
Ms. Kester
English II Honors