Thursday, September 12, 2013

Blog 1: After Missteps In HIV Care, South Africa Finds Its Way

    Currently, South Africa has more people with HIV than any other country. About ten percent of South Africa's population is infected with HIV. One third of the women that are at the age where they can have children, are currently HIV positive. Although the statics may be very sad, South Africa is making progress and taking on new approaches when it comes to getting a handle on the AIDS epidemic. Years ago, finding out that you were positive was similar to that of a death sentence because getting medication was either too expensive or too far away.  New medication was hard to get because the side effects were too extreme. “Tshabalala says the first AIDS drugs that she took made her nauseous and caused several of her teeth to fall out.” Today the medication for HIV is cheaper than in America and easier to obtain. Death in South Africa due to HIV has dropped fifty percent in the past eight years.
            HIV or human immunodeficiency virus is a disease causing virus that can stay dormant in the host for months or even years before it attacks his or her immune system to cause AIDS.  This virus was originally found in animals but it somehow made a leap from animal hosts to humans in Africa.  The fact that the virus has the ability to mutate quickly and change its form has made it difficult to create a vaccine. HIV has spread all across the world with over 40 million carriers but over three-quarters of the cases have occurred in Africa, where it all began. Due to the fact that many women that are at the age of childbearing are infected with HIV, the life expectancy is at a low while the birthrate is increasing.

In Africa, HIV/AIDS has spread in many ways that include prostitution and drugs. African hospitals depend on more transfusions than their European and North American counterparts. Because of this, Africa has found it difficult to keep up with their blood supply.

Khadijah Tucker

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