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Population Health in South Africa - Essay Example

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Introduction: HIV infection and consequent AIDS has developed into a full-blown epidemic in the world, and like other parts of the world, there are untiring efforts on the part of researchers to control it. Aside from the medical factors that predispose to this deadly disease, the world has come to know that there are many social, political, economic, and other unclassified factors that create a ground for this infection…
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Population Health in South Africa
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Download file to see previous pages Any crucial health promotion effort, would therefore need a thorough knowledge of the epidemiologic factors and their distributions (Ugen, Bendinelli, and Friedman, 2002, 1-24).
HIV transmission is known to occur by both homosexual and heterosexual contacts; by blood and blood products; and by infected mothers to infants either intrapartum, perinatally, or via breast milk. It has been intensely investigated since its discovery, but till date there is no evidence that HIV is transmitted by casual contact or that the virus can be spread by insects, which are commonly people's perceptions. HIV infection/AIDS is a global pandemic; every country has its share of this burden. It has been currently estimated that the number of cases of HIV infection among adults is 37 million worldwide. Unfortunately, two-thirds of whom are in sub-Saharan Africa, and about 50% of these cases are women. In addition, an estimated 2.5 million younger than age 15 children are living with HIV/AIDS. Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) undertook study in 2003, and they declared there were an estimated 5 million new cases of infection worldwide. Calculating on a daily basis, more than 14,000 new infections occur each day which ultimately lead to 3 million deaths. In this way, AIDS becomes the fourth leading cause of mortality throughout the world. The cumulative number of deaths out of AIDS and from conditions related to AIDS exceeded 20 million in the year 2003. The epidemiologic patterns of HIV occurrence in the world is in the forms of "waves", with each wave demonstrating little difference in characteristics which are determined by the demographics of a specific country or a region. It is also determined by the time when the HIV was introduced into the population. This indicates, in different regions of the world, different types of virus may be prevalent (UNAIDS/WHO, 2006, Chapter 4).
Demographically and statistically, HIV/AIDS in different regions of the world provide evidence that although the epidemic was first recognized in the United States and thereafter in Western Europe, it most likely indexed in sub-Saharan Africa. The major mode of transmission of HIV worldwide is heterosexual sex unquestionably; since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in developing countries, where the numbers of infected men and women are approximately equal, the same pattern had been particularly prevalent. Knight has computed the South African data in relation to population and HIV/AIDS in 2006. This comprehensive document highlights many interesting facts in relation to the disease burden of South Africa. These data are important since it is a fact that AIDS epidemic has had a devastating impact on Africa, particularly in South Africa. A mid 2007 data indicate the population in South Africa of 47.9 million with 51% women. Approximately 32% of this population is children of age 0 to 14 years, 5% are older, and 63% belong to age group 15-64, who are working. The burden of the disease becomes more conspicuous ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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