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AIDS INFORMATION

AIDS in South Africa

One of the world's most pressing problems is aids in South Africa. Indeed, Aids and Hiv are a major problem throughout the world, but aids in South Africa has reached a crisis point where a large number of the population is infected. As in other countries, aids in South Africa was discovered in 1981, but just in the last 25 years, nearly 30% of all pregnant women in South Africa are infected with Hiv and the likelihood that their babies will be born Hiv positive is very high. Currently, five and a half million South Africans have the Hiv virus and there are 1,000 deaths every day from Aids. In a survey, South Africans said they spent more time at funerals than they spent getting haircuts, going shopping or having barbecues. The average South African is twice as likely to attend a funeral as a wedding, and the disease has reached a degree of severity that nearly everyone knows someone who is infected with the hiv virus.

Aids in South Africa is a problem that concerns the whole world, since one can look at the rapid rate the disease has spread and see it as a microcosm of the world's problem with hiv and Aids. In the 80s, Aids was dismissed as a gay problem, as it was in the rest of the world, but by 1991, as many heterosexuals were diagnosed with Aids and homosexuals, and the number grew steadily from that point on. One of the major problems with combating Aids in South Africa is that the government can't seem to distribute medicine to people who can't afford treatment or to educate the public sufficiently about the dangers of aids and how to prevent the disease. Certain medications can be given to Hiv –positive pregnant women to prevent the spread of the virus to their babies, but few women in South Africa can afford this medicine. If every one of the 30% of pregnant women in South Africa were given this treatment, the number of Aids deaths among children would decrease substantially. However, unless this distribution takes place, there will be many more babies with the disease, and aids in South Africa will continue to claim the lives of the very young.

Aids in South Africa is truly an epidemic, affecting all ages, but mostly wrecking havoc in the lives of the poorest citizens. Many children are orphaned because of the disease, and many adults are deprived of medicines which could extend their lives, since many people in the West can live productive lives for years while HIV positive. Aids in South Africa is a problem spiraling out of control, and one of the most tragic aspects of the problem is that it is almost entirely preventable. As more people become aware of the severity of aids in South Africa, there are more widespread efforts to educate the public concerning prevention and treatment. If funds are given to the poorest citizens, live-saving drugs can be obtained, and Aids in South Africa will claim fewer lives.

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