31
Mar
10

what can we do to help fight aids in africa?


Learning about AIDS in Africa has made me want to help. It has probably done the same for you. We all see images on TV, in magazines, or on the internet that make us want to do something. So what can we do?

The biggest resource that is needed is money. There are many places that accept donations that are supposed to go to fight Aids in Africa. I am wary of donating to these places because I wonder how much of the money donated actually goes to help fight AIDS in Africa. I looked at a variety of web sites and the one that seemed the most trusted is http://www.avert.org/donate.php. AVERTing HIV and AIDS also has some good ideas for ways to fundraise for HIV and AIDS in Africa.
Gap has a clothing line called (product) red where part of the proceeds from the purchased clothing goes to help provide treatment for women and children with AIDS in Africa. The clothing can be found at select stores across the United States or can be found online.

There are also places that you can volunteer abroad. I would LOVE to do this one day! I know that it would be a life changing opportunity to be able to assist the people in Africa while in Africa. There are a variety of different ways that you could volunteer abroad. If you are studying at a University there are usually study abroad programs available that you could look into. Where there is a will, there is a way! I know that if we really want to volunteer abroad we can fundraise for it and make it possible. I look forward to heading over there one day! As for now, I will continue to research the problem with Aids in Africa.

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31
Mar
10

Annie Kaseketi- Her story


Annie Kaseketi is one of many woman living with AIDS in Africa. She is an ordained Pastor of the Apostolic Church in Zambia. She is also a member of ANERELA, the African Network of Religious Leaders Living With or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS. Her huband died many years ago and soon after she lost two of her four children. In 2003 she went to South Africa for a training. While there she heard about HIV and wondered if that is what caused the deaths of her family. When she returned home after a year in South Africa she found that her daughter was very sick. Her daughter died within days of her return. At this time Annie was financially dependent on her family. She was getting sick a lot and said it was a very low time in her life. She went on to become a minister and saw a lot of people suffering from HIV in her congregation. Annie was afraid to go and get tested but she thought of her last child, her son, and decided that she needed to find out. Annie tested HIV positive and started getting treatment secretly. She was scared of what her congregation would think if she told them. Then one day, she had a women in her congregation confess to her that she had aids and that she was struggling. Annie decided she could do more good if she told people than if she kept her HIV status a secret. She told her congregation and they were first shocked but then they were happy about it. Many of them told her stories of family members and friends that they knew were HIV positive. Today she does workshops and gives speeches informing people and encouraging them to find out their HIV status.

When I first read about Annie’s story, my heart went out to her. She contracted AIDS during a time when little was known about HIV/AIDS in the world and it was unknown in her country of Zambia. When people starting hearing about HIV/AIDS in Africa they shunned people that had it. Further education and more knowledge has empowered some people to know their status and to seek treatment. It is sad that Annie had to lose her husband and three of her children before she was able to learn what was causing their sickness and how to get treatment. There are people throughout Africa with similar stories. As knowledge about AIDS and its effects spread, we hope that less people will have to endure suffering like Annie and her family.

31
Mar
10

Prevention of AIDS in Africa


As a Public Health Major I am interested in learning the prevention methods currently being used to reduce the AIDS epidemic. Prevention is preferrable to treatment but sometimes this is hard for people to understand and utilize. The governments have played a significant role in the amount of prevention programs that are currently available in each African country. Countries that responded immediately to the AIDS epidemic are fairing much better today than countries that have waited to start prevention programs. There are 3 main areas that African prevention programs are working on. 1. Condom Use 2. Voluntary HIV counselling & testing (VCT) 3. Mother to child transmission of HIV. Let’s explore all of these.
First condom use. Condoms are being distributed throughout Africa by donation. Condoms are key to preventing HIV infections. Most African countries have seen a recent increase in the number of people using condoms but they still have a long way to go. Providing condoms is cheap and has been found to be effective. There are some social, cultural, and practical factors that may prevent people from using them.
Voluntary HIV counselling and testing is an important part of any AIDS prevention program. People who are aware of their HIV status are less likely to transmit HIV to others. Providing rapid HIV testing has become easier, cheaper, and more effective. People can find out the results of their test the same day that the test is administered. VCT could and should be made more widely available throughout African countries.
Around 390,000 children became infected with HIV in 2008. The majority of these children were infected with HIV during pregnancy, child birth, or breastfeeding as a result of their mother being infected with HIV. There is a 20-45% chance that a mother will transmit the virus to her child if she does not know her status, or does not seek treatment. If the woman is supplied with antiretroviral drugs the risk of transmission is significantly reduced. In developed countries mother to child transmission has virtually been eliminated due to the available treatment. More needs to be done to prevent mother to child transmission and currently campaigns and various programs are working on this.
I think it is good that there are three focus areas that are being worked on to prevent HIV/AIDS. From the reading I did it sounds like remarkable progress has been made in the last ten years. Hopefully with hard work and raising awareness the next ten years find us making even more progress on preventing HIV/AIDS.

31
Mar
10

Treatment options for those living with HIV/AIDS in Africa


Since 1996 treatment has been developed to delay the progression of HIV to AIDS. Antiretroviral drugs (ARV’s) allow people with HIV to live relatively normal and healthy lives. Unfortunately many of the people in Africa are not getting this treatment. Distributing these drugs requires money, a good health system, and a sufficient supply of health care workers. Distribution of these drugs vary with each country but overall a little under half of the people in Africa in need of ARVs are receiving them. The situation is slowly improving as the distribution of ARVs is gaining international support. Another problem is insuring that local health care facilities are carrying enough ARVs for the community members. Once an HIV patient starts taking ARVs they have to stay on them for the rest of their life. If a person went off of them for a period of time it could result in that person developing drug resistance to the ARVs.
Antiretroviral drugs are a combination of 3 or 4 drugs that are taken in combination to slow the progress of HIV. It is important that patients take the drugs correctly. The fewer doses that a person has missed, the greater the chance of keeping the HIV under control. There are some side effects for people taking the ARVs that may discourage the patients from continuing them. Some of these side effects include diarrhea, abdominal pain, migraines, insomnia, mental confusion, vomiting, and more.

30
Mar
10

Who is most at risk for AIDS in africa?


The African people as a whole are more at risk for contracting AIDS than any other continent. But what are the risk factors for people living in Africa? Who is most at risk for contracting AIDS? The stats are as follows.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region most affected by HIV in Africa. In 2008 Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 67% of HIV infections worldwide! Women and girls are disproportionately affected by HIV in Africa.In Sub-Saharan Africa women make up about 60% of all people with AIDS. Individuals that are divorced, seperated, or widowed tend to have a significantly higher HIV prevalence. HIV prevalence tends to be higher in urban areas than it is in rural areas. HIV prevalence seems to peak in women at a lower age than men. The highest prevalence of women with HIV were between the ages of 30-34 while the highest prevalence of men with HIV were in their late 30’s and early 40’s.
According to this information a divorced women around the age of 30, living in an urban area of Sub-Saharan Africa is most at risk! Age 30 should be the prime time of a woman’s life and in Africa they are more at risk. It is sad too, because many African women are mothers by this age and when they contract AIDS they are leaving behind children. This goes to show why there are so many AIDS orphans in Africa!

30
Mar
10

AIDS Orphans


Have you ever wondered about the impacts AIDS is having on the children in Africa? I have. This is what I found out while researching the topic.
Worldwide there are about 15 million children, under the age of 18, that have been orphaned because of AIDS. About 11.6 million of these children live in Africa! Sub-Saharan Africa has the most orphans. Here is a chart that shows the numbers:
Number of orphans due to AIDS, alive in 2007
South Africa 1,400,000
Uganda 1,200,000
Nigeria 1,200,000
Zimbabwe 1,000,000
Tanzania 970,000
Ethiopia 650,000
Zambia 600,000
Malawi 560,000
Côte d’Ivoire 420,000
That’s a lot right? And these numbers are only for Sub-Saharan Africa!
Children who are orphaned from AIDS often suffer in many ways. They go through emotional trauma while their parents have AIDS and after the death of their parents. They have been found to have high levels of psychological distress. Depression, anxiety, and anger were found to be more common among AIDS orphans than other children. The psychological trauma they experience can become more severe if the child is seperated from their siblings.
AIDS orphans are more likely to be without basic necessities, such as food, clothing, and shelter. They often are left to beg on the streets for these basic necessities. Children orphaned because of AIDS are less likely to get an education and often perform poorly in schools. Clearly, these children are in need. What can we do to help?
My first thought was adoption. Can American’s adopt African children? Some countries look down upon African children leaving their countries. Some countries are skeptical for why American’s or other people would want to adopt African children. So depending on the country, the ability to adopt varies. For more information on adoption in Africa visit here. Keep reading my blog to learn more ways that you can help!

27
Mar
10

What is HIV/ AIDS?


In order for us to understand why HIV/AIDS is such a problem for the African people, we need to understand exactly what it is. Most of us know that it can kill people that get it, but what else?
The human immunodeficiancy virus infects cells of the immune system, destroying their function. Infections that occur with the virus result in progressive deterioration of the immune system. The function of the immune system is to fight off bacteria, infections, and tumor cells. When an immune system starts deteriorating people are much more prone to sickness, disease, and death.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a term that applies to the most advanced stages of the HIV infection. People transition from having HIV to AIDS when they have any one of 20 opportunistic infections or HIV related cancers. (An example of an opportunistic infection is Tuberculosis.) For more information visit the W.H.O. website.
Because of the poor living conditions of most people living in Africa, the death rates are high for HIV/AIDS. People are more prone to be exposed to infections that further weaken their immune systems and quickly turn their HIV into AIDS. In Africa, Tuberculosis is the number one killer of people living with HIV/AIDS. The World Bank and other organizations are working to control infections that are worsening the effects of HIV/AIDS.
Learning more about HIV/AIDS helped me to understand a little more about why it is such a problem in Africa. I have often heard of people in America living with HIV for years before it becomes AIDS. Many African people are not so lucky. They are constantly fighting other infections that weaken their health and make it difficult to control HIV.