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Science and the Epidemiology of AIDS - Essay Example

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The AIDS epidemic has hit the world hard and fast leaving thousands of young people orphaned in a short space of time. The disease has no cure and presents itself in many forms. Africa, still attached to her mystic past, is one of the hardest hit Continent…
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Science and the Epidemiology of AIDS
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Download file to see previous pages To date low income nations are using the effects of the disease as strategies for intervention from industrialized nations and access to funds from donor agencies working hard to try and save millions of lives, leaving the questions open, "how far should aid go Is it true that donor agencies are using the situation for control of nations by manipulating the flow of aid"
In 1983, prompted by the number of Africans living in Europe with clinical cases of AIDS, investigations began in Africa to determine the extent of the clinical problem of AIDS and transmission patterns in the region. What was of note to researchers was the nearly equal ratio of male to female cases of the disease with 90% having no high risk factors (Quinn 1986). In contrast, the industrial world exhibited higher cases in homosexual males and injection drug users. Over the proceeding two years, results from a studies done by Van der Perre P et , Vandepitte J et al and Serwadda D et al in Zaire (as cited in Quinn 2001), showed the presence of Aids in several urban areas in equatorial Africa. "Slim disease" was often the documented outward sign of the disease mainly prevalent in sex workers and their clients. This raised several discussions on the mode of transmission of the disease. It was not until the introduction of the test for HIV-1 was there greater understanding leading to better epidemiological study of the modes of transmission of the disease. The disease, considered endemic then, reached epidemic proportions in the 1970's and '80's with statistics for the year 1986 almost trebling the figures predicted by early researchers. Quinn's retrospective report (2001) shows just how far and fast the disease had ravaged the continent. Today one has only to get on the internet, watch the news or read a local paper to get a glimpse of the effects of the disease in Africa.
It was evident as early as the 1980's that unless drastic measures were taken; Africa was losing her most productive age group to the effects of the aids epidemic. By 1987 statics listed by Sabatier in the article on Aids in the Developing World showed the highest number of new cases of HIV and AIDs were from central and eastern Africa with most of the cases being young sexually active adults both male and female in the age groups of between 15 and 40 years (1987 p 99 -103). In the same year the World Health Organization Aids Surveillance Report (as cited in Sabatier 1987) had statistics for over 40 countries, 36 reporting to WHO. It is difficult to get accurate statistics, as some countries are wary of the industrialized world especially after reports of scientific findings linking the origins of the disease to Africa. Over and above this, poor health delivery systems as well as lack of accurate demographic figures make it impossible to get accurate statistics.
The modes of transmission are well documented and known to all, for Africa and the earliest recorded document being that of Quinn T.C, Mann J.M, Curran J.W and Piot P (1986). The main modes of transmission in African countries are mainly by heterosexual, blood transfusions as well as mother-to-child transmissions at birth or through wrong breast feeding practices (Sabatier 1987). This however does not discount the presence of gay communities on the continent. Gender, sexuality age and socioeconomic status play an important role in structuring vulnerability of a person to HIV infection. Ruganga A.O and Aggletoon P ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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