Aids in Lesotho, Africa

Origin of HIV/AIDS

The illness came into the limelight in the early 1980’s; since then it has caused havoc and stress while scientists have been struggling to find out where it came from. There are several theories that have been advanced to try explaining the origin of the vice with no certainty still realized.

Several arguments have been provided since the 80’s. Despite the facts surrounding the origin of the vice, a wide variety of stakeholders have been blamed for the start and fierce spread. The question, which still remains unanswered, is where the origin lies (Review of Hiv and Aids-Related Initiatives and Activities in Lesotho 44).

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First case to be recorded of AIDs presumptions were in the United States in the early 1980’s. It was detected among a number of gay men who began developing common ailments at the time with common symptoms. The ailments recorded seemed stubborn and highly resistant to the treatments administered and this aroused suspicion among the scientists.

The problem came when the ailments could be registered in a common form among the men though, at the time, the name AIDS had not been devised for the scourge (National Aids Strategic Plan 2002/2003-2004/2005: A Three-Year Rolling Plan for the National Response to the Hiv/Aids Epidemic in Lesotho 68).

Human Immune Deficiency Syndrome was later on discovered though a number still could not comprehend and understand the link that could exist between AIDS and HIV just as majority have still refused to realize the real nature and impact of AIDs even after research has proved so.

The origin of HIV has as well been explained using several developed theories. The earliest known form of the virus was detected from a blood sample of a man in the Democratic republic of Congo, but the means with which this man got the virus is mystery up-to-date.

The virus in the sample was identified as HIV-1 and it’s recorded to have branched from a sole virus in early 1950’s. The advanced by scientists for the virus before being renamed as HIV was HTLV-III and this was done by a bench of international scientists (A Travel Survival Kit 30).

Facts about HIV/AIDs

HIV is a lethal virus which if left untreated, damages the cells of the body hence weakening the immunity of the body. Once the immunity of the body is weak, it becomes highly susceptible to a variety of opportunistic diseases. HIV has never been a cause of the deaths realized from AIDS since its role is only to provide an avenue through which other diseases can enter the body and cause disease.

AIDs is said to have infected an individual when more of the infectious diseases are diagnosed in the body of an individual. Though the scourge is a killer disease, it is in record that people have lived longer productive lives even after acquiring the virus and this is attributed to the fact that one has to admit infection if diagnosed and immediately embark on medication.

Ways through which the Virus is transmitted

There have been several rumors on the ways through which the virus is spread but the sure ways that have been on record entail the following. The body fluids such as semen, vaginal fluids, semen and blood widely spread the virus and this takes place in the most likely event that two people of which one is infected engage in sexual intercourse (Behaviour Change Communication in Lesotho: National Behavior Change Communication Strategy, 2008-2013 106).

The infection can also be transmitted if piercing instruments are shared and among the people sharing them, one or more are infected. To small extent careless blood transfusions have been made through which the virus is spread but this way has been minimized due to the advent of proper blood screening methods and safe transmission methods.

AIDS in Lesotho, Africa

Africa as a continent, is composed majorly of developing and less developed countries. These countries faced several challenges since they are agriculturally based and agricultural products do not fetch higher prices in the world market. As a result of these economic downturns, such economies suffer even social evils like crimes and diseases.

Political leadership in these countries is still composed of highly greedy individuals hence corruption deprives the society of the few resources that they could use in solving their social woes. Lesotho being one of these countries, faces similar challenges, which is propagated by the fact that equipment both in form of facilities and infrastructure that are essential components of an economy, are still lacking in such economies.

The HIV AIDs situation in Lesotho therefore takes the form described below. Lesotho is one of the countries in the sub Saharan Africa with the highest prevalence rate of HIV infections in the world. In fact, the prevalence is higher at a percentage of 28.9% compared to that of the whole of the sub Saharan region combined which is a mere 7.5%.

People who are recorded to be living with the virus as per 2008, was about 720,000, a ratio being about 3 people out of every 10 adults. The vice is widely established in the country and has resulted into highly damaging effect to the lower level income economy hence exposing the country to further retarded development achievements. The government though not so successful, is trying up and down through formation of agencies and develops programs that facilitate the fighting of the vice.

They have since intervened by forming a strategic plan which started operations in the year 2005; again, they have the Lesotho Aids program coordinating Authority (LAPCA) to handle programs that are geared towards suppressing the demise. The formation of the National Aids Commission (NAC) was geared to link ways through which the government comes in responses to discourage the vice (Anderson 203).

The first casualties of the virus in Lesotho were detected in the year 1986 after which several were followed. In 2003 Lesotho had a record number of 320000 of people living with the virus, the number has grown tremendously and in 2008 it hit the highest record of 720,000 infected people with the deadly virus.

The HIV/AIDs prevalence in Lesotho has a record of holding the third position in the world at 26.9% and over three times the prevalence in the sub Saharan region combined. Globally the prevalence rate stands at 2%. Due to HIV/AIDs high death rates have been recorded with 29,000 deaths recorded in 2003 alone and a progressive increase recorded. The period which an individual expects to live in Lesotho is approximately 40 years.

In Lesotho, HIV/AIDs spread is mainly through heterosexual sexual intercourse, the population also engage into early sexual activities which is propagated by the fact that the society supports early marriages. Other factors include high mobility of the demography hence the spread is at its highest (Maw 12).

Among the highly infected people among the population are the women whose rate stands at 57% of the adult population in Lesotho who are living with the virus.

The women are highly vulnerable due to several reasons that are as follows, the women lack economic power and hence depend on their male counterparts to satisfy their economic needs. This turns the women into a crop of beggars which exposes them to a risk since they are at the mercies of the same males. The anatomy of the women and corrosions cause easier acquisition of the virus as compared to men.

The other group that is highly infected with the virus in Lesotho is the youth aged between 20-29. In this category these are still women that are hard hit, it is recorded that among the young population alone the number of female youth that is infected, is twice that of male youth.

The other factors that fuel this are early marriages and culture which forces women to be submissive to their men in everything. Other culture makes the men dominate the scene i.e. the culture of polygamy or the one which makes the man the head of the family and hence the man is the one who makes the major decisions in the family affairs (Ntsekhe 77).

Children in Lesotho are not left out, they are either affected or infected. This is because if they escape being born with the virus due to technological advent, they cannot escape being orphans after their parents are long dead with the scourge. The statistics of orphans in Lesotho in 2003 was recorded to be 100000 children with 22000 children infected with the virus.

The prevalence is equally spread in the whole of the country almost in equal measure but highest in urban areas where the intensity of antisocial activities is at the helm. The spread is even higher in workers who keep moving from place to place as compared to those who are stagnant at a point.

These enormous figures are as a result that in Lesotho due to the low levels of development and low education as well as awareness standards, misconceptions are widespread while at the same time people still don’t want to come to the reality that the virus is real and that it kills.

The infected also do not receive the right treatment from the society making them die early due to stigmatization hence high prevalence. Ignorance and lack of exposure is a great contributor to this since people do not understand that one can be infected yet look so healthy at the early stages.

Effects of the demise

The devil has widespread effects and it major affects the economy and the education sectors. The economy is affected both in terms of the resources that are diverted to help solve the problem; the disease deprives the economy of valuable resources which could have been directed in other productive sectors of the economy. The demise also steals expertise which would otherwise contribute to the economic development through innovative ideas and influx of human capital into the economy for industrial growth.

Education sector is the one which has received a major blow; the resources injected in schools are no longer enough due to the ever increasing number of orphans that the available resources can no longer support. Therefore, poor quality performance of the teacher is realized lowering the general education standards of the country.

Interventions

The government has devised several ways to help control the spread and the impact of the killer disease. Among the major ways are looking for donor funding to supplement the meager government resources and stage a fight of the disease. The government has initiated educative programs through the government channels of the radio and televisions.

The citizens are also enlightened and educated through the staged advocacy. The international community has also welcomed themselves in the fight through donations and grants. The United Nations has developed several interventionist measures to help in supporting activities that mitigate the spread of HIV/AIDS thereby controlling the prevalence of the pandemic disease.

The UN has put a spirited fight to combat the deadly disease. Several programs have been institutionalized to help create awareness about danger of HIV/AIDS including promotion of the voluntary counseling and testing. The knowledge of the condition is perceived to be helpful in helping the people to manage there condition and lead a positive life.

The organization is also making several efforts to enable people to fully understand the mode of spread of the HIV/AIDS such that they can make more informed choices to avoid the spread of the disease. HIV has been found to have much more prevalence and incidence in the developing countries than the developed-poverty; it is known to be the accelerating factor (Ntsekhe 89).

Works Cited

A Travel Survival Kit. Pennsylvania: Lonely Planet Publications, 2008. Print.

Anderson, Cooper Dispatches from the Edge: Memoir of War, Disasters, & Survival. :. Hanoi: Publisher Harper Paperbacks, 2008. Print.

Behaviour Change Communication in Lesotho: National Behavior Change Communication Strategy, 2008-2013. Maseru: Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, 2008. Print.

National Aids Strategic Plan 2002/2003-2004/2005: A Three-Year Rolling Plan for the National Response to the Hiv/Aids Epidemic in Lesotho. Maseru: Government of Lesotho, 2005. Print.

Ntsekhe, Potlako. Aids Epidemiology in Lesotho. Maseru: Mosby Elsevier, 2000. Print.

Maw, Moe Aung. Aids Epidemiology in Lesotho. Maseru: STD/HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Programme, Disease Control and Environmental Health Division, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, 2000. Print.

Review of Hiv and Aids-Related Initiatives and Activities in Lesotho. Harare: Southern Africa HIV/AIDS Information Dissemination Service, 2003. Print.

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