Essay on Social Impact of HIV and AIDS

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The earliest known cases of human HIV infection have started in Western equatorial Africa, presumably in Southeast Cameroon where a group of the central common chimpanzee lives. Phylogenetic analysis has disclosed that all HIV-1 groups M, N and O were so closely related to just one of these SIV Cpz lineages which were found in p.t troglodytes. It is surely suspected that the disease has spread to humans from the butchering of Chimpanzees for human consumption. Current hypotheses has also included that once the virus from Chimpazees or other apes to human, medical practices of the 20th century helped HIV to become confirmed in the human population by 1930.


HIV is a virus that attacks cells that help the body to fight infection, it makes a person to be more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. It is spread through contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, more especially during unexpected sex or through sharing injection drug equipment. If the can be left untreated, HIV can surely lead to a disease of AIDS, this is the stage of HIV infection that usually occurs when the body`s immune system is badly damaged because of the virus. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region that is mostly affected by the HIVAIDS pandemic, in this essay Im going to discuss the social and economic impact of HIVAIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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The diversity of populations together combined with destitution, political and economic instability and hunger, has led to a number of strategies for combining the disease in Sub-Saharan. These include voluntary counseling and testing, community involvement, facilitating behavior modifications, which include consistent and correct use of condoms, reduction in the number of sexual partners, increasing antiretroviral availability and the involvement of non-governmental organizations in prevention, treatment, care and support of the infected population.

About 49,7 million HIV infections had taken place worldwide by late 1999, 72% were in Sub-Saharan Africa., 84% of AIDS death, 91% of childhood infections and 94% of child Aids deaths worldwide have occurred in Africa. Of the children that were orphaned by AIDS throughout the world, 95% seemed to have occurred in Africa where the number of orphans will continue to rise through the next decade and have reached 40 million by 2010

At the end of 2003, it was estimated that globally 40 million people were living with HIVAIDS and 2.5 million of those people were children under the age of 15. In 2003, there were 5 million new cases of HIV and over 3 million deaths due to the disease (1). Of the 40 million HIV-positive individuals, 26 million (65%), were living in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Sub-Saharan Africa, women seem to be the most affected group, they represented about 58% of all the infected adults in 2001 whereas 10% were the children under the age of 14. The disease has made over 11 million children to be orphaned in the region because they lost their parents due to this disease and the orphan burden has serious consequences for all of society.

The morbidity and mortality which are associated with the HIVAIDS pandemic has major economic and social implications, poverty and hunger are on the rise, children have also increasingly become vulnerable due to the HIVAIDS pandemic, the education sector has surely become deteriorated, people are suffering from AIDS-related isolation and life expectancy of those living with the diseases is decreasing.

The Social impact of HIVAIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

The social impact of HIVAIDS looking at the Nigerian case study revolves centrally around the stigmatization and discrimination of the person who is infected as well as higher immediate members. Stigma as defined by Goffman (1963) is an undesirable or discrediting family attribute that an individual possesses, thus reducing the individual`s status in the eyes of Society. When it comes to AIDS-related stigma referred to prejudice and discrimination which is directed at people who are living HIVAIDS, infected people tend to suffer from different types of social stigma that could be in the form of isolation, rejection and social discrimination, marital instability and divorce, loss of respect and family responsibility which include the socialization and care for the children.

Therefore family structure and social life is affected, the stigma of HIVAIDS in Nigeria tends to involve negative attitudes, beliefs and policies towards people who are living with HIVAIDS by their families, friends, social groups and also their communities. This kind of stigma is through discrimination and it has spread speedily while it was spreading anxiety and prejudice against the group that is infected as well as the people living with HIVAIDS. HIVAIDS-related discrimination is still a huge barrier to people who are looking for HIVAIDS treatment or from disclosing their HIVAIDS status in public.

Discrimination and stigmatization have been expressed as some of the primary social consequences of HIVAIDS and stigmatization is be of the opinion that it causes a person with HIVAIDS to face social isolation, increased emotional stress, loss of social and economic support and increase in violence against women in Nigeria and it also prevents non-HIVAIDS positive people to avoid being tested for their HIVAIDS status. Most people who are infected often suffer from rejection from their families, loved ones, and also their communities, they suffer from loss of family responsibility due to shame, and sometimes these people tend to experience discrimination from the health care providers within the heath setting.

Education as one of the biggest and most important social service sectors is also an indispensable foundation for social and economic development in human societies. HIVAIDS constitutes a threat to this sector. Education as a vehicle of societal progress and development has been adversely affected with the emergence and spread of HIVAIDS. At the community level in Nigeria where the population is decreasing as a result of the HIVAIDS epidemic, the number of potential beneficiaries, in particular children, for school enrolment also declines. In addition, there is also a decline in school attendance by children who have become orphans as a result of which they cannot afford school fee and other expenses. For some children, attending schools has become disrupted because they might have been turned into caregivers for their infected parents. According to Future Group International (FGI), HIVAIDS has an impact on the education sector in many ways,

Remarriage is potentially another way of emotional and social and social losses resulting from the death of a spouse. In some societies, there are strong traditional expectations that widows will remarry, and widows' and children`s access to property and other resources may depend on remarriage. If the death was due to AIDS, however, the surviving spouse may be infected, and remarriage poses a grave risk of spreading the disease. Little is known, however, about how marriage practices are actually changing in the face of this k. In Malawi, divorced or widowed women were less likely to remarry if their husbands had been HIV-positive, but the partner`s HIV status did not affect the likelihood that men would remarry (Floyd and others, 2003). Studies from Uganda in the early 1990s indicated that the practice of widow inheritance was in decline. But results also suggested that many people were basing their decisions about risks of remarriage on the appearance of health, and many of those who appeared healthy are likely in fact to have been infected by HIV.

HIVAIDS is at the same time cause and outcome of poverty as poverty increases the risk of HIVAIDS when it propels the unemployed into unskilled migratory labor pools in search of temporary and seasonal work, which increases their risk of HIVAIDS. Poverty also drives girls and women to exchange sex for food, and to resort to sex work for survival when they are excluded from formal sector employment and all other work options are too low-paying to cover their basic needs. Abject poverty often leads to a casual, day-to-day existence dominated by survival needs, and at the extreme, poverty fosters a fatalistic attitude that manifests itself in indifference to high-risk sexual and other behaviors. In these circumstances, individuals are poorly motivated and poorly equipped to take the necessary steps to protect themselves from HIV. South Africa and Botswana are the most economically developed in the region of contradicts the poverty

Economic Impact of HIVAIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

The economic effects of HIVAIDS have been liked with the rising morbidity and mortality rates for certain age groups, in particular the sexually active youth and adults, including children who are infected at birth. Most of the people infected with HIVAIDS in Nigeria fall within the age category of 15-49 years, this is the group that constitutes the highest proportion of the labor force-academia, scientists, doctors, administrators, and entrepreneurs, as well as unskilled laborers. The epidemic has the implication of cutting short the productive lives of this critical age group, reducing their saving level and increasing health care expenditures. The rise in morbidity leads to a negative labor productivity effect and a positive health care expenditure.

The HIVAIDS pandemic has an effect on the Agricultural sector in Nigeria, Majority of the Nigerian population are farmers who had engaged themselves in farming as their primary occupation, though a significant number engage in other occupations as secondary sources of income. Agriculture is a major production sector and the largest employer of labor in Africa, studies which have been done in Nigeria, Tanzania and other African countries have revealed that AIDS will have adverse effects on agriculture which will result in the loss of labor supply and income remittance and the reduction of the size of the harvest. Loss of agricultural labor compels farmers to switch from export crops to food crops. Hence HIVAIDS could affect the production of crops as well as food crops. In a study of seventeen different states in Nigeria, it was discovered that there were on average 8-10 AIDS infections per week in the rural areas.

HIVAIDS also has an impact in Ethiopia as the male head of the household is responsible for specific tasks, such tasks involve oxen cultivation, harvesting, threshing and farm management. One study has revealed that the effect of an AIDS death varied by region and could have the most severe effect on harvesting teff in Nazareth, digging holes for transplanting enset plants in Atat, on plowing millet fields in Baherdar and on picking coffe in Yirgalem. Women on the other hand are responsible for transporting produce and household duties hence the death of a wife can it difficult for other household members to carry out these tasks as well as care for children. The death of a family member because of AIDS can also lead to a reduction in savings and investment, the stock of food grain can be depleted to provide food for mothers.

The HIVAIDS pandemic also have an impact on the public and private industries in Nigeria, many of the employees die from AIDS and other associated illness. This results in a serious implication on industries as it increases expenditure and reduces revenues, expenditure tends to increase due to health care expenses for the infected worker, burial fees and costs of the recruitment and training of new and inexperienced workers to replace the dead one. In addition, revenues may decrease due to the time spent on training, and absenteeism from work because of illness, as a result of most of the Sub-Saharan countries, the industries are left to manage with inexperienced workers that are less productive and this is bad for the economy.

HIVAIDS is also affecting most of Sub-Saharan Africa`s health facilities because it constitutes a great financial burden to the health sector it does not only increase the number of people seeking medical treatment in public hospitals, but it also increases the expenditure of the sector because treatment of AIDS patients is very much expensive. In Nigeria, the cost of treatment for AIDS is estimated to be about N55, 000 which many Nigerian people cannot afford. In 1994, a study has estimated that the health care costs in Ethiopia due to AIDS for the period of 1994 under two scenarios, low and high where under the low-cost scenario the total outpatient treatment would equal US$34 million, at a cost of $42.28 per patient, per year and then under the high-cost scenario, for the same period total cost for outpatient treatment was estimated to be US$206 Million and in this case also many Ethiopians could not afford it still.

As a result of labor force losses, the epidemic is an important factor in slowing the pace of economic growth at the national level. This in turn undermines efforts to reduce poverty, critically locking some populations - especially in the poor and least developed countries - into their poverty and greater exposure to HIVAIDS.

Strategies to prevent HIVAIDS

People who are not affected can take steps to protect themselves from HIVAIDS. Firstly they must choose less risky sexual behavior, use condoms every time they have sex, limit the number of sexual partners, get tested for STDs and don`t inject drugs


HIVAIDS continues to pose an array of concerns for sub-Saharan Africa. The spread of HIVAIDS further strains the fragile relationship that has long existed between the local environment, social infrastructure, and rural livelihood. Changing population dynamics and a growing dependency on the environment and its resources are at the center of this crisis. Nevertheless, plausible solutions to overcome some of these problems do exist. If implemented, rural communities of sub-Saharan Africa can effectively work toward environmental preservation. At the same time, the number of AIDS patients is expected to double over the next years for some of the countries considered here.

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Essay on Social Impact of HIV and AIDS. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 25, 2024, from
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