Cycle and Prevention of AIDS in Africa
Individuals in Sub Saharan Africa are dying by the masses due to HIV. Close to 12 million children in Sub Saharan Africa are being orphaned each year due to AIDS. (UNAIDS and WHO Aids Epidemic Update, Geneva, 2007) To successfully combat AIDS in Africa, we must understand the cycle of the epidemic, and the many layers of problems AIDS causes for Africa. Once we understand this vicious cycle and the depth of the problem, it becomes evident that the children and people of Africa desperately need continued support and funding from the US.
Impact of AIDS
The area south of the Sahara desert, known as Sub-Saharan Africa, is the worst affected area in the ...view middle of the document...
Kevina Lubowa; a 14 year old orphan in Uganda describes the every day life of living as an orphan, “[We] don’t have blankets; [we] don’t eat meat; [we] don’t have sugar; [we] sleep in huts. Some go to eat at the neighbors, or they get one meal a day. At school, life is good. The teacher calls us orphans, but I don’t like that name. Even other children don’t want that name. We think we are animals.” (Cohen, 2007, p. 1).
The issues that surround the epidemic are not limited to only health issues. Emotional trauma, separation anxiety, isolation and discrimination are common pressures as well. The strain on the family is prevalent and devastating, creating a domino effect on family members who are now responsible to take care of those who are left behind.
Children standing on the grave of their parents.
Strain on the Family cont.
One example of this strain on the family is Lucy, a loyal grandmother who sadly watched her sons’ die of AIDS, also misses out on the chance to enjoy being a grandmother. She now is forced to take on the role of mother to her grandchildren. “My sons left behind 6 orphans, and now I’m once again a mother to children ranging in age from 8 to 15. Two of my grandchildren were also HIV infected. One has already died and one is still living at age 8, though she has started falling sick. I’m taking care of them alone because in our culture, it is the family of the father who must care for orphans. This is a great challenge having to look after young children again after counting myself among those who had graduated from the responsibility of being a mother.” (Cohen, 2007, p. 1).
Another mother, Gerrida, who is featured in a well known book on Africa’s orphans, titled There Is No Me Without You, after loosing her own daughter to disease, opened her home to several orphaned children who suffered major loss- the loss of their parents. In the book, heroic Gerrida affirmed a story of a man, Eskender, trained as a metalworker who had lost both of his parents to AIDS. When Eskender was diagnosed with AIDS and became sick, he lost his job and house. He and his young wife Emebate, also an orphan, made a life on a square of area of a sidewalk.
In poor countries similar to Africa, making a life on a sidewalk is referred to by “squatting”. Essentially, this is what this family did. The family camped out alongside the sidewalk, and claimed the area as their home. When it rained, they pulled plastic over themselves and their little baby for protection.
Lack of Education.
Stories like brave mother Gerrida and Grandmother Lucy’s are all too common. The number of orphans left behind for extended family members to care for them is just the beginning. Unprotected, defenseless children, who are still living with an HIV-infected parent, also suffer while the parent is still presently available to care for them. The children are exposed to a high degree of stress, uncertainty and sudden abandonment. Education is mere privilege and...